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Walnut Creek Magazine

Pandemic Pickles

Jun 18, 2020 09:03AM ● By Deborah Burstyn

That sizzling grilled burger or dog on your backyard barbecue plate is begging for a cold savory dill pickle to go with it. For Walnut Creek resident Mike Monahan, pickle-making is an integral part of life. Monahan, who grew up on a big garlic farm in Gilroy, learned how to preserve fruits and vegetables by canning and pickling from his parents. “My mom and dad canned a lot. They made their own jam and preserves,” he says. Years later, through trial and error, Monahan perfected his own dill pickle technique using small crisp cucumbers he buys at local farmers’ markets. The fresher the cucumber, the easier to work with. Order and organize jars and ingredients in advance then plan to set aside half of a day for pickle-making.


Use wide mouth quart jars. Work in small batches. Put a variety of spears and slices in each jar.


2 to 3 dozen small cucumbers

6 cups of water

3 1/2 cups distilled vinegar

3 tablespoons Mrs. Wages® Kosher Dill Pickling Mix

(available at select grocers, Ace Hardware stores, or order online)

Kosher salt to taste

Onion flakes to taste

Chopped garlic to taste

7 quart jars

2 ½ quart non-reactive pot

Ball® Pickle Crisp granules (order online)


Wash quart jars in the dishwasher and let dry.

Rinse cucumbers, cut into spears and slices if desired.

Pack cucumbers into jars, leaving 1-inch space at the top.

Boil water and vinegar together.

Add the spices and stir to dissolve.

Divide evenly hot pickling liquid into jars.

Place a quarter teaspoon of pickle crisp granules on top, don’t stir.

Screw the lids on jars, let cool.

When the jars reach room temperature, refrigerate.

Refrigerate for at least 24 hours before eating.


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