Sunday, July 10, 2016

Pop's Pickles

I canned these pickles up last year but saved it to write about this summer.  I wanted to see how they tasted in the winter, which is the true test of a pickle.  Is it still crisp?  Does it have good flavor?  Is everything balanced?  These are the things I am looking for in a pickle.

These pickles are a winner.  Totally would make them again.

Based largely on a recipe from Allrecipes

8 pounds pickling cucumbers (Kirby's)
4 cups water
4 cups distilled white vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup Kosher salt
3 tablespoons pickling spice, tied up in cheese cloth  ( I liked using just mustard & celery seeds)
7 heads of fresh dill
7 cloves of garlic
7- 1 quart canning jars

Place cucumbers in a large pot and cover with ice cubes. Let them sit for at least 2 hours but no more than 8. Drain and pat dry.

Place the water, vinegar, sugar, pickling salt, and pickling spice into a saucepan. Bring to boil, then simmer for 15 minutes.

Sterilize the jars and lids in boiling water for at least 5 minutes. Pack the cucumbers into the hot, sterilized jars, filling the jars to within 1/2 inch of the top. Place 1 dill head and 1 clove of garlic into each jar. Pour the hot pickling liquid into the jars, filling to within 1/4 inch of the rim. 

Wipe the rims of the jars with a moist paper towel to remove any food residue. Top with lids, and screw on rings. Be mindful that you want it to be firmly screwed on.  If it is loose, it will leak liquid out in the canning process.

Place a rack in the bottom of a large stockpot and fill halfway with water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then carefully lower the jars into the pot using a holder. Leave a 2 inch space between the jars. Pour in more boiling water if necessary until the water level is at least 1 inch above the tops of the jars. Bring the water to a full boil, cover the pot, and process for 5 minutes, or the time recommended by your county Extension agent.

Turn off heat, open top and let rest for about five minutes.  I find this helps with the liquid spilling out, rather than lifting it when all the liquid inside of the jars is basically still boiling.  Lift the canner rack to the top. Remove jars.  Place onto a cloth-covered or wood surface, several inches apart, until cool. Once cool, press the top of each lid with a finger, ensuring that the seal is tight (lid does not move up or down at all). If any jars have not sealed properly, refrigerate them and eat within two weeks. Store in a cool, dark area, and wait at least 1 week before opening.

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