Friday, August 23, 2013

Dill Pickles

I couldn't resist another peck of those tiny little cukes at the market.  It was a great price and they were fresh and delicious looking.

If you want to buy these types of cucumbers and are planning to can them then you need to do it pretty soon after you get them.  The skins are much thinner on those smaller cukes so they go bad fast. 

We ate some and the rest I made into dill pickles.  It has been a long time since I canned them so we will see how they hold up over time.  I looked at a lot of recipes before I decided on which one to use.  I wanted them to be crisp but should I use alum or this other method I found of soaking the cukes overnight in an ice water bath.

Here is the recipe I ended up using.  I added a bit of spice to some of the jars.

Harris’s Grandmother’s Pickles
1 quart water (4 cups)
2 quarts apple cider vinegar (8 cups)
1/4 to 1/2 cup pickling salt

4 pounds of cucumbers
1 clove peeled garlic
1/4 teaspoon alum
1 teaspoon dill seed or fresh dill weed
a slice of hot pepper if desired 

Prepare canner by filling about halfway with water, cover and bring to a boil while you get everything ready.  This way by the time you are ready to process, your canner will be ready.  It takes a long time for it to come to a boil.

To prepare brine, boil all the brine ingredients in a saucepan until it comes to a boil. 

Using a glass measuring cup ladle the hot vinegar mixture over the pickles, leaving 1/4 inch of head space. This is the area between the top of whatever mixture there is in the canning jar and the very top of the canning jar.  Tap jars on the counter to get rid of any air bubbles, and then wipe down jar rims with a damp cloth.  Put on the lids and rings and tighten them.

Process them to seal the jars. To process pickles, bring water in your canning pot to a boil, and make sure each jar of pickles is covered by water by at least an inch.  Boil the pickle jars for 15 minutes.  Remove with a jar lifter and let cool on a towel.  After an hour or two, as the jars cool they should start “popping” and sealing.  Run your finger over each lid to make sure it has sealed, and this may cause any that haven’t sealed to seal immediately. If a jar doesn’t seal at all, refrigerate it immediately and eat those first.

*Remember to cut off the bud end because it will continue to ripen the cucumber- makes for soft pickles.  Nobody likes a soft pickle.  Sigh.

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