in the kitchen with: sharon spain

textile designer sharon spain‘s organic designs are hand printed and made of natural materials. so it didn’t surprise us that she submitted a homemade dill pickle recipe! i, like sharon, haven’t always been a pickle fan, but there must be something about the palate that changes with time. now i looove them. and before you think “well, who cares about a recipe for pickles??,” consider this pickle only part of your spread: sharon suggests enjoying them with crusty bread and cheese. matt and i, obliged, and we threw a little mustard up in it, and it was lunch for us! we promise if you offer these to your friends, they’ll be talking about your pickles to everyone. [photos: by matt armendariz, part of the series we shot for the in the kitchen with column at his wonderful studio in the LBC in mid december. thanks matt!] –kristina

about sharon: sharon spain is a bay area designer whose work includes hand-screened silk and hemp linen pillows, handbags, t-shirts, and a line of gift cards. her products are sold nationally, and are inspired by modernism, and forms and color from nature. in her other life as a writer and editor she has contributed to the recent publications Asian/American/Modern Art: Shifting Currents, 1900-1970 and Asian American Art: A History, 1850-1970.

for the full recipe and more photos.

Dill Pickles

These are easy, delicious and make terrific gifts. Be sure to buy cucumber pickles—not regular cucumbers. A small pickle of about four inches fits perfectly in a pint-sized mason jar. If you are not familiar with a mandolin, buy one for this project, and you won’t regret it. They are fabulous for slicing anything (just watch your fingers). Slice the pickles thinly, but not so thin that they become hard to work with. 1/8” is about right.

2 quarts water (1.9 liters)
1 quart cider vinegar (.95 liters)
3/4 cup canning salt (220g)
10 wide-mouth, pint mason jars
Approximately 25 pickles
2 bunches dill
tools: mandoline

1.Thoroughly wash jars and lids in hot water to sterilize.
2. Combine water, cider vinegar and salt in stockpot and bring to boil, stirring well.
3. Wash and trim ends from pickles.
4. Using a mandolin, carefully slice each pickle lengthwise. Stack pieces neatly in order, removing the two ends and place pickle in jar. Trim height of pickle as needed to fit. You should be able to get about 2 1/2 pickles in each pint jar. Place several pieces of dill in jar with pickles.
5. Pour hot vinegar/water solution over pickles filling jar to top. Screw lid down tightly.

The pickles can be eaten as soon as the next day, or can be stored in the refrigerator for months. Great with cheese on crusty bread!

Why Sharon chose this recipe:

I never understood what people saw in pickles. I was always picking them off sandwiches or transferring them to someone else’s plate. Then my friend Ethel’s step dad, Jim Schrupp offered me one of his homemade dill pickles, and I was a convert.

  1. Yum! Those photos are making me salivate. I might need to get some pickles this weekend and try it out; I didn’t realize making your own pickles could be so easy!

  2. Cat W. says:

    I love this idea, but I’m really confused. Do I buy cucumbers that have already been pickled? Like the ones out of a Mt. Olive jar? In that case am I simply adding the dill flavor? Or does “cucumber pickles” refer to something altogether different? Thanks!

    Beautiful photos!

  3. lauren says:

    this is something ive always wanted to try! thanks.

  4. Mae says:

    Guess who will be making pickles this weekend?

    P.S. – for something sweeter, check out! Loved the tees!

  5. mouth salivating at the thought of juicy salty sour PICKLES!!!!

  6. Joanna says:

    I don’t even like pickles, but these images might just make me try one this weekend. SO beautiful.

  7. kat says:

    Cat W., I think what she meant was “pickling cucumbers” – smaller cucumbers bred just for pickling. If you live in California, you might be able to find some now; otherwise, wait until July, and try your local farmer’s market or well-stocked grocery.

  8. Uncle Beefy says:

    OMG…BRING IT! I LLLllllllooooove me some good pickles! Mmm, mmm, mm! These pics make ’em look better than ever too! I’m smitten!

  9. jules says:

    oh man, I love pickles!

    Cat: cucumber pickles are the type of cucumbers, they are also called kirby cucumbers and are much better suited to pickling because they are much smaller and have a lower water content. You can find them at farmers markets during the summer months.

  10. Tea says:

    Gorgeous shots (Matt’s a genius, no?), and I love anything pickled. Usually do spears, but love the long slices. Next time I will be pulling out the mandoline. Thanks!

  11. squeakyfrommage says:

    By cucumber pickles do you mean pickling cucumbers? Or at least, that’s what they’re called at my farmer’s market.

  12. Anna @ D16 says:

    Cat, I pretty sure the recipe intends to call for cucumbers intended for pickling, like Kirby cucumbers.

  13. My grandparents made their own pickles and always used to give us a jar whenever we visited…so much more special than vlacik (I think that’s how you spell it)

  14. Cat W. says:

    Thanks everyone! I learned something new today! Bring on the pickles!

  15. Kelly Greene says:

    wow – those photos are absolutely gorgeous. i had to check out his website. there’s something about food photography … well, i will absolutely be joining the group in making pickles this weekend :)

  16. Elizabeth says:

    Amo o seu blog…

  17. Megan says:

    I love that first photo. There is nothing better than food photography-and this sounds so yummy. I honestly could eat pickles all the time :)

  18. Todd S says:

    These remind me of the freezer pickles I make. Sim. Recipe: I like it becasue you can make a bunch of them and then only use them as you need them. Thanks for the recipe ladies.

  19. kristina says:

    We posted a savory recipe this week at the request of a reader from last week’s post and will try to mix it up a bit more over the coming months. We are very glad you liked this recipe and hope you won’t be shy about letting us know other things you’d like to see. We are still working on vegan dessert recipes for those of you who asked!

    As always, thanks to everyone who takes the time to visit, and those of you who comment!

    p.s. And sorry for my reckless use of commas in the initial post! I must have been delirious!

  20. Stephanie says:

    I didn’t use to like pickles either until I got to France and tried their cornichons. Maybe it’s time to expand to even more pickles.

  21. Robin says:

    Thanks again for the savory recipe! I <3 pickles!

  22. bill says:

    FOR CAT W– I just thought I would say that a cucumber pickle is a type of cucumber, so you will want to look for a sign that reads “cucumber pickle”. Otherwise, I can not wait to make then ASAP–provided I find the cucumber pickle at the store !

  23. rhaya says:

    Thanks for the recipe! My grandmother grows cucumber pickles in her garden and then makes her own pickles — they are so much tastier than the ones I buy at the store.

  24. D. Elle Powell says:

    Hi, I am trying to decipher if you mean cucumbers or actual pickles? Thank you and I look forward to experimenting with this recipe.

  25. Jen Catto says:

    I love when a post includes design AND pickles–my two favorite things! If you want recipes for some unusual pickles to add to your charcuterie platter, please check out my blog: P.S. I am heartbroken about Domino. Heartbroken.

  26. Marilyn S. Wisniewski says:

    I have a 4 year old friend, Ryan, who lives next door. I am 68! Ryan and I have been known to polish off a pint of pickles at a one setting. Thanks, will try recipe. Then, Ryan and I will critique it. Sure sounds good to two pickle lovers!!! Mar and ryan

  27. Sharon Spain says:

    Thanks for all the great comments! You should be using cucumbers….but a specific type of cucumber which apparently goes by a few names. They are short and stubby, and while a few people have mentioned their availability during the summer months, I usually find them year round in Asian markets here in the Bay Area. Good luck!

  28. andrea says:

    hey great picture, but where did you found those bocal, i would love to get my hand on some of those…


  29. jHill says:

    i LOVE pickles. In fact I made my own this summer for the first time. I will totally be trying this recipe.

  30. I never thought I would be happy to see a pickle recipe. Never made them, never thought of making them, UNTIL NOW. Probably have to go out tomorrow and buy some pickles just to fix my sudden craving.

  31. Ina Vaughn says:

    I’ve made jams and jellies, even drunken apricots, but now I’ll have a new project: pickles!
    Thanks! Pictures are enticing, ready to eat!

  32. Alicia says:

    I couldn’t even wait around to make pickles I just had to have that sandwhich. On the way home I stopped at a little grocery store and got organic dill pickles, light rye, probiotic mild cheddar, and dijon….best sandwhich ever. Thanks for the great meal idea:)

  33. alex says:


  34. the purcells says:

    i love love love pickles and all things that are pickled. this summer we experimented with little jars full of pickled green beans, baby carrots, beets and asparagus and i loved all of them! thanks for the new recipe and really enjoy matt’s photography!

  35. kristina says:

    Hi, If anyone can help me– what’s a bocal? Perhaps we can help Andrea!

  36. Niina says:

    Do these store immediately in the fridge, or is a cooldown period recommended? Thanks!

  37. Emily says:

    I’ve been eating pickle sandwiches since I was a kid and still love them! So happy to see that I’m not the only “weird” one. Looks delicious.

  38. Angelina says:

    I live in an area (Ireland) that doesn’t have pickling cucumbers available. I wonder if there’s anything else suitable for this recipe?

  39. frances says:

    From South Africa. Just this afternoon I bought 2 pack of Gherkins, small ones that I want to pickle. Gherkins and Cucumbers for pickling, is it the same thing?


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