A successful crop of cucumbers which in my house automatically translates into Dill Pickles!!! The recipe I use is adapted from a cookbook with a publish date older than I am. I cannot remember how this book found itself in my possession but I am certainly happy it did.
I add a little extra spice and garlic to my version since that’s the way we like our pickles around here. I weighed my cucumbers and had about 7 pounds but I only got 6 quarts out of them. The original recipe calls for 2 1/2 pounds and says it makes about 5 quarts, that has yet to prove true in my experience. So I just grab a handful of all the ingredients, mix up the liquid following the measurements and have a go at it, I figure I can heat more liquid if need be and will fill as many jars as my cucumbers will fit.
Kosher Dill Pickles
2 1/2 pounds 4-inch cucumbers (about 25)
Hot peppers (I used fresh cayenne long and super chile from the garden and chiles de arbol – the little dry, red ones from the Hispanic foods section at the market)
Pickling Salt (or in my case Kosher salt)
4 cups Cider vinegar
3 quarts water – filtered before tap please
Get your water bather canner filled and heating on the stove before you start your pickles. Follow manufacturer directions for your canner.
1. Prepare your jars and lids according to manufacturer directions.
2. Thoroughly wash cucumbers. Quarter them lengthwise.
3. Combine the vinegar and water in a large saucepan, bring to a boil.
5. Pack cucumbers, dill (like 6-8 little stems. Don’t count, just grab a small bundle), peppers (I like 2, you might try 1 to start) and garlic (again I like 2 big cloves or 3-4 smaller, cause garlic = heaven in my home) into hot jars. Pack them in as tight as you can get them
6. Measure 1 Tablespoon salt into each jar.
7. Once your vinegar mixture is boiling, using a canning funnel, carefully lade the hot mixture into the jars, leaving 1/2-inch head space. Run a table knife down the insides of the jars to release any trapped air bubbles.
8. Wipe off the rim of the jar with a towel. Place lids and rings on and screw down firmly.
9. By now, the water bath canner should be hot, Place your filled jars on the rack in canner, making sure the jars don’t touch. Once all jars are in the canner, check water level. If necessary add more boiling water so that the water is at least 1-inch over the tops of the jars.
10. Once the water begins to boil, start your timer. Process in boiling water for 20 minutes*.
11. When your pickles are finished processing, turn off heat under canner and, using can lifter, carefully transfer your jars to a rack or towel in a draft-free area. Leave space between jars to allow air to circulate. Now wait for the chorus of pings to begin. Such a sweet sound to be heard at the end of processing.
*Note: The processing time is for sea level, for every 1000 feet above sea level add 1 minute to the processing time.
I like to can my pickles for a shelf stable pickle that I can pull one can at a time to refrigerate. If I had an entire fridge I could dedicate to just pickles, I would likely just make refrigerator pickles. Here is a link to a Refrigerator Pickle recipe from the folks over at Wood Streets Gardens that looks a lot like my canned one. Though they add a spice that I hadn’t ever thought to try. Think I’ll add it to my next batch.
Now the hardest part, waiting to break into a jar of these delicious pickles! We can hardly stand it. Like a young child in the weeks leading up to Christmas, with each day drawing us just that much closer to the date marked on the calendar, it just gets harder and harder to not sneak a peek (or taste) of what’s inside.
Do you have a favorite pickle recipe? What vegetable do you most like pickled? Please share.