July 11, 2008
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.