We can all agree that the best grocery store pickles are from Claussen. They can be found in the refrigerated aisle next to the packaged lunch meat and hot dogs. Claussen pickles are distinctly dill and garlic-forward with lots of seeds and spices to make for a very flavorful pickle.
The best from-scratch pickle recipe is this Homemade Claussen Copycat Pickle Recipe. The familiar flavors that you know and love from Claussen pickles are found in this recipe, but it is so much fresher and more delicious! Any homemade copycat recipe is typically better than the original, and this recipe is no exception.
Pickling cucumbers is a simple and easy task, and doing it at home allows you to put whatever you want in the brine. Claussen notably uses dill, garlic, peppercorns, mustard seeds, coriander seeds, and crushed red pepper flakes as their main flavors. Water mixed with white vinegar creates the most perfectly tart pickle brine along with these whole spices.
You will need lots and lots of cucumbers for this recipe. If you are a gardener and always have tons of cucumbers at the end of summer, this is the perfect way to use them up. Pickling cucumbers are slightly smaller and denser than salad cucumbers, but any cucumber will pickle nicely.
This recipe makes 2 1-quart jars of pickles, and you will have a little bit of brine leftover. You can reduce the waste by pickling any other vegetable, such as sliced onions, whole garlic, fresh green beans, or sweet peppers. If you decide to use the leftover brine, pickle your other vegetables using the same method as pickling the cucumbers.
The beauty of making your pickles at home means you can add any flavor to the brine that you enjoy. If you do not like any of the ingredients found on this list, omit it and add something else! Pickles are very forgiving and take on flavors very well, so be sure to use anything that you like in your pickles.
When the pickles are ready to eat, they are delicious when eaten alone as a snack. You could also bread them in a cornmeal dredge and deep-fry for some tasty deep-fried pickles. Lastly, use them in your next potato salad, coleslaw, or deviled eggs for a nice vinegary bite.
Prepare 2 1-quart-sized mason jars with lids. Add 2 sprigs of dill into each jar, then divide the minced garlic between them. Set aside.
In a large pot, add the water, vinegar, salt, coriander seeds, mustard seeds, cloves, crushed red pepper flakes, and black peppercorns. Turn on the heat and stir, allowing the salt to dissolve completely. Once the salt is dissolved, shut off the heat and allow the mixture to cool slightly. This should only take about 4-5 minutes.
Trim the ends off of each cucumber and slice in half. If you would rather have spears, cut the halves into quarters. Evenly divide the cucumbers among the jars on top of the fresh dill and minced garlic.
Placing a fine-mesh strainer over the top of each jar, strain the pickling liquid into the jars, catching all of the seeds and peppercorns. Do not discard them! Leave about ½-inch from the top of the jar, or more if you plan on sealing the jars in a water bath. You will have a little bit of pickling liquid leftover after filling the jars. You can repurpose it to pickle some onions, okra, carrots, or any other veggies you like in a separate mason jar. Otherwise, you can just discard the remaining liquid.
Using a spoon, divide the seeds and peppercorns among the two jars evenly. Be sure both jars contain one of the cloves. Place the lid securely on top but do not secure the lip. Place the jars in a cool, dark place out of direct sunlight for 2-3 days, or until the cucumbers taste like pickles throughout, then twist on the lip and place in the refrigerator. Refrigerate for up to 6 months.