Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Salty Dill Pickles

Spicy Salty Dills

Here's another of those family recipes passed down by the women in my family for generations.

Gather or buy your pickling cucumbers FRESH. Pickle the day you pick if you want good pickles!
My family recycles gallon and half gallon jars. If you don't get them to reseal you must store them in the fridge. In fact, store a few jars in the fridge anyway. It makes them nice and crunchy! Some recipes use pickling spices, or ferment their pickles for a few days, we don't.

Here's what you need before you start making brine:
  • pickling cucumbers
  • fresh dill, or dried seed & weed if you must
  • fresh garlic
  • fresh hot peppers, if you want (jalapeno, cayenne, hot banana...)
  • pickling salt
  • white vinegar
  • jars, lids & rings (washed & sterilized)
  • Pot deep enough for waterbath (check out your county extension office website for info on canning) I don't immerse my jars of cukes. I flip them upside down in a pan and only add water to above the neck and bring to a boil a couple of minutes. Otherwise I get overcooked, soft pickles. My mom never did either and we are still living. :)
Wash cukes, fresh dill, and peppers in cold water. Heat your brine while you pack the jars with slices, spears, or whole cukes. Each qt. jar gets:
  • 1 pepper (if you want them spicy)
  • one bunch of dill stems, seed heads, or 1 tsp. dill seed/weed
  • 2 peeled garlic cloves
  • As many cukes as you can cram in
The basic recipe for the brine is going to be a ratio of 2:1:1/4
That's 2 parts water:1 part vinegar:1/4 part pickling salt.
In case your ratios are rusty, here's a starting point:

The Brine
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 quart white vinegar
  • 1 cup salt
It will take approximately 1 pint of brine per quart. The cukes take up half the room in the jar.
Bring the brine to a boil. (Whatever you do don't lean over the kettle and breathe in or you'll be sorry.) Place your jars with cukes into a cake pan or the sink to catch salty spills. Pour each jar to within about 1/4 inch from the top, trying to cover the cukes. Some you may waterbath, which my mom does upside down in a pan for gallon jars. Not that I'm recommending, just telling you. Some you can use clean, sterile, used, lids on and store in the fridge.

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