For a few years now, a very generous soul at (BF)G's work has been supplying us with awesome homemade dill pickles (and lately salsa too - yep! We've got it made!!) They're delicious as only homemade pickles (and salsa) can be. Mmmmmmm. Yum.
A long time ago I used to do a lot of canning. Jams and jellies and pickles - dill, beet, something called "bucket pickles" and even a most unfortunate crabapple pickle (I was trying to do sweet canned crabapples like Mom always had... You'd think the vinegar in the recipe would have clued me in. Alas...). Anyways, that was a lifetime ago and I haven't done much of anything of the sort in years.
Last year after getting a pile of second hand canning jars and a canner I thought I'd ease back in, so I made jams, apple butter and apple pie filling, but I really wanted to get back to pickles. (BF)G must have mentioned it to our pickle supplier and she offered to pick up some pickling cukes at a local Hutterite colony when she got her's. I agree (although a bit hesitantly because I figure that means the end of her pickles coming our way), because it would be great to have a pantry full of our own. So for $25, I got a HUGE 20lb box of cukes, plenty of dill, and the best part? She had tucked her own recipe inside. I had stopped by Mom's earlier in the week for some jars - I had either 500ml or gigantic old (with glass lids) jars that didn't fit my canner - so having all my supplies gathered, yesterday morning I decreed it to be pickle making day.
Wow! What a lot of work. I was pooped! I'm sure I could have streamlined my flail and fumble about the kitchen, making mad dashes out to the garage to scrounge for more jars to sterilize, frantically peeling and cutting more garlic and making more brine, running between the kitchen and the window to make certain the boys were still in the yard and not performing any death defying stunts and generally just resembling a chicken sans head. it wasn't pretty, but hopefully it was worth it. We'll know in a few weeks. (oh how I hope they are as tasty as Carol's!!!)
There is something so incredibly satisfying about hearing those snap lids snap as they cool and then standing back to admire the fruits (or in this case pickles) of your labour.
|Holy Smokes! What have I got myself into????|
|Pickling cukes take a heck of a long time to wash!|
|Splish, splash taking a boiling water bath!|
|Yum! Pickles for winter!|
Hopefully I'm not divulging some ancient family secret recipe here by sharing the one I used, but I'm pretty sure it's fairly standard.
Garlic Dill Pickles
Pickling cucumbers - gently scrubbed and washed
Garlic - peeled and bigger cloves, chopped
Heads of dill
21 cups water
7 cups vinegar
1 cup pickling salt
2 cups sugar
Mix all ingredients in a pot and cook until salt and sugar are dissolved. (make more brine as needed)
Meanwhile pack garlic, dill heads and pickling cukes into hot sterilized jars. Pour brine over top, seal jars and process in a boiling water bath until yellow.
Pretty straightforward, really. I took a look at one of her jars to see how much garlic and dill she used and saw there were about five chunks of peeled, chopped garlic and two smaller heads of dill. I processed mine for 10 minutes in the canner. Oh! And to do the brine I had to make only half at a time because I didn't have a pot large enough to fit it all at once. I started out with 20 lbs of cukes and ended up with about 21 litres of pickles. The brine recipe was sufficient for about 14 jars.