Following is a good dill pickle recipe. I don't know if it's the exact recipe my Grandma used, but I think it's as close as I'll ever come.
This year I'm growing 'Agnes' cucumbers. They're small, sweet, and have very thin skin. They did very well for me here last year, so this year I planted more in the hopes of making some pickles. This morning I got a bumper crop of cucumbers ...
(Which I didn't plant.)
Dill is one of those plants that just wants to be a weed. Plant it on purpose, and you'll never get any. Drop some seed in the gravel by accident, and you'll never get rid of it.
First, start your cucumbers soaking in icy water.
While they chill and crisp, wash your jars, and bring your giant canning kettle full of water to a boil.
This recipe is for 8 quarts:
*8 pounds cucumbers
*4 cups white vinegar
*12 cups water
*2/3 cup pickling salt
*16 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced in half
*8 heads fresh dill (pick heads with green seeds, not dry, not in bloom)
*8 pinches red pepper flakes
-Mix vinegar, water, and salt in a large pot and bring to a rapid boil. This is your brine.
-Into each jar, place 2 half cloves of garlic, and 1 head of dill. Fill with cucumbers, then add 2 more garlic pieces and a pinch of red pepper flakes.
-Fill jars with boiling hot brine, leaving a little space at the top. Seal the jars and place them in the kettle of boiling water.
-Boil for 15 min.* then lift out onto counter to cool. You will hear the jars click when they seal.
*About that 15 minute thing, my Grandparents had a running argument about pickle cooking time. Grandpa thought they needed to go at least 15 minutes. That's how his mother did it, and no one in his family ever died from his mom's pickles. My Grandma didn't like them cooked to mush, so she would just boil them for 5 minutes or so. None of us ever died from her crunchy pickles, so in keeping with the spirit of this particular recipe, I've elected to boil the jars for 8 minutes.
-Last is the hardest part. You have to wait 8 weeks for the pickles to cure. But, I can tell you from experience, they're pretty good the very next day.