Recipe Box

Low-So Dilly Spears

If you’re new to the low sodium lifestyle, you’ll need to be a bit patient with yourself while your taste buds ‘gear down’. At first, you’ll miss the salt. But after a week or two, low sodium foods will start to taste better and become more satisfying.

And, if you’ve been diligently adhering to your diet, after those couple of weeks you might find yourself really craving a good ole dill pickle spear. We sure did! And that’s how this recipe came about.

After thoroughly enjoying the first quart jar of pickles, we decided that the salt could be cut back just a little more to reach the goal of less than 100mg of sodium per spear. The original one tablespoon we used on the first batch has been cut to two teaspoons in this recipe. Keep in mind that most store-bought commercial pickles will weigh in at 200-300mg per spear. And yes, that means that you could have TWO Low-So Dilly Spears instead of one of those.

The only special equipment you’ll need for this recipe will be two one-quart canning jars  with lids. If you don’t have any canning jars, just save up a few spaghetti sauce jars, or any other six to seven inch tall glass jars with well-fitting lids.  As long as they are glass, and tall enough to hold your pickles, they will work just fine.  You may need to put less pickles in each jar than the recipe calls for, but if you divide up all the ingredients amongst your jars, you’ll be fine. Pickles are not an exact science. If you’ve never preserved food before, don’t panic. There’s no need to put these pickles through any sort of canning procedure.

All right – it’s crunch time!

Low-So Dilly Spears

For low sodium diets, pickles are usually a forbidden treat. Here’s how to bring that tartness and crunch back into your life, without spending all of your daily sodium points on a delicious treat!

Makes 48 spears


6 each pickling cucumbers about 5 inches long and quite fat
2 cup water
1 cup white vinegar
2 tsp coarse salt
1/2 tsp granulated sugar
1 tsp dill seeds
2 tsp garlic fresh or dried – any form works
6 each black whole peppercorns
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp hot pepper flakes increase if you’d like more heat


Making the Pickling Brine

In a medium saucepan, combine water, vinegar, salt and sugar.

Bring the contents of the saucepan to a boil, stirring occasionally. Once the salt and sugar has completely dissolved, remove from heat and let the mixture cool.

In a small bowl, combine dill seeds, garlic, peppercorns, mustard seeds, and hot pepper flakes. Stir to blend. Divide the blended spices into two equal portions.

Turning Cukes into Spears

Slice each pickling cucumber in half the long way, then cut each half in half, then each piece in half again. This will yield 8 spears. Repeat with the other 5 cucumbers for a total of 48 spears.

Filling the Pickle Jars

Pour one half of the dry spice blend into a wide-mouth one quart canning jar. Repeat for the second jar.

Pack 24 cucumber spears upright into each quart canning jar.

Slowly pour the cooled pickling brine into each jar until the jar is full and all spears are submerged.

Cap the jars with plastic reusable lids and store in refrigerator for two days before tasting. These will continue to become more flavorful over time, and should be at their peak for about two weeks.

Nutrition data is based on one ounce, which is the weight of one dill pickle spear.

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Lori Alden Holuta lives between the cornfields of Mid-Michigan, where she grows vegetables and herbs when she’s not writing, editing, or playing games with a cat named Chives.

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