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delicious dill pickles

July 11, 2008

zora naki

i had no idea that pickles were so easy to make. the hard part is going to be waiting a few weeks for the flavours to ripen before we devour them.

delicious dill pickles

For each quart (1-L) jar:

Place the following in the jar:
3 heads fresh dill with some leaves
3 garlic cloves (peeled)
1 Tbsp coarse pickling salt
1 tsp pickling spice

Wash and slice small pickling cucumbers (unwaxed and as fresh as you can get them) into your preferred pickle shapes (chunks, slices, whole) and pack them into your sterilized jar, leaving about an inch of headroom at the top. Try to wedge them so that they won’t float when you pour the brine in.

For each jar you will need to make brine from 1 cup of water and 3/4 cup of white vinegar. Bring these to a boil in a saucepan and then lower heat to simmer.

Ladle the hot brine into the jar until you are about 1/4 inch from the brim. Release any trapped air bubbles with a small rubber spatula (don’t use a metal utensil because you could cause tiny little cracks in the glass and this would be a Bad Thing). Wipe the rims, seal with a canning lid and ring, and then process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.

This recipe is mostly taken from Mary Anne Dragan’s Well Preserved. I’ve read all kind of variations – putting the pickling spice in a cheesecloth bag, adding the seasoning to the brine in the pan, etc., but this seems like the easiest and most elegant approach. It’s also easily adjustable to however many cucumbers you manage to come home with.

I’ve started to believe that the more you can, the easier it is. It’s like you reach some kind of critical mass when you have most of the supplies you need (coarse salt, pickling vinegar, jars) and you’re ready to fire up the stockpot of boiling water (or canner, if you are so endowed) at a moment’s notice – the instant some unsuspecting vegetables wander into the house.

My next plan is to waylay some green beans and invite them around for some spicy Caesars (bloody Mary’s for you Americans). Yum.



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  1. ourfriendben #
    July 12, 2008

    Your pickles look yummy, Zora! And you’re right, canning does seem to get easier the more of it you do. I love canning applesauce, various salsas, tomato sauce, and hot peppers. But I’ll admit that when I make pickles, I usually just make my hot-sweet refrigerator pickles–so incredibly easy, spicy, delicious!–and leave the hot water bath canner in the cabinet. (I put the recipe for these luscious pickles on Poor Richard’s Almanac, but of course, can’t remember the name of the post. You’ll find it if you search the site for “pickles” if you’d like to try ’em.) This year, though, I think I’ll try canning some dill pickles, too. But not yet! Today I’ll make the season’s first batch of hot-sweets. And yes, waiting is always the hardest part!

  2. July 12, 2008

    Thanks for the heads up – i’ll look for the recipe. do you have any good salsa recipes to pass on?

  3. ourfriendben #
    July 12, 2008

    Just finished making the hot sweet pickles and the house smells great! (Of course, I now have a turmeric-yellow fingernail from testing the brine to make sure it was lukewarm before pouring it over the cukes and sweet onions. Grrr…) Salsa: I absolutely have not one but two great recipes! I’ll dig ’em up and post them tomorrow. It’s not fresh tomato season here yet (I just harvested my first two tomatoes yesterday, and it’s going to be quite a while before any more join them, I fear), so of course I haven’t been thinking of canning, but I have recipes for salsa and peach salsa that are fantastic. And if you’re in the mood for fresh salsa, check out the most recent post from Aunt Debbi–I think it was called “Another Vegetable Slaughter”–which has a marvelous fresh salsa recipe. (I like my fresh salsas tiny-diced, not processed, but otherwise, it looked delicious and I’m planning to try it next time we have Mexican Night here.)

  4. July 15, 2008

    LOL! Poor unsuspecting veggies!

    Another recipe I’ll be using…my husband loves dill pickles and I’ve got cucumbers growing in the garden this year.

  5. July 20, 2008

    I love gherkins – sweet and sour and dilly. That photo is fab.

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