Friday, May 4, 2007

John Mac's Super Chilly Dills


Well, the pickling cuke seeds are planted and sprouting. It won't be long before I'm putting up our year's supply of dill pickles.
I posted a picture on flickr of a pint that I put up last year and added it to some of my groups. I got a request for the recipe and promised that I'd post it on my blog. So, here goes. But before I write it down, you should be warned that I don't follow recipes. That means that it's always difficult to tell someone exactly how I make something. I did submit this recipe to John's family cookbook, so I'll copy it from there.

I use whole cucumbers that range from 2- 4 inches. Scrub them and make sure you scrape the blossom end clean. I just scrape it with my fingernail. After they're all clean, pour water over them to cover and set in the frig for several hours or overnite. This step can be deleted, but then you won't have Super Chilly Dills. The soaking helps insure that your pickles will be crisp without having to add anything else to the recipe.

You will need:
A water bath canner with the necessary canning tools to make your job easier. For me that's a jar lifter, a magnetic tool for lifting the sterilized lids and rings out of the boiling water, and a jar funnel.

Fill your canner to the appropriate height and start to bring to a boil. I wash my jars and put them in the oven at a temperature that is equivalent to the boiling point of water- a little under 225 degrees. I leave them in there until I need them and remove them one by one.
Wash your lids and rings and put in a pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Let these simmer on low while you continue.

The brine:
1 quart water- We use spring or distilled
1 quart white vinegar- 5-6% acidity
1/3 cup canning salt
Bring brine to a boil. You can double or triple this recipe as needed.

To each sterilized pint jar add :
1 Tablespoon dill seed (or to taste)
1-2 cloves garlic- peeled
1/4 teaspoon mustard seed (optional)
1 whole cayenne pepper- pierced with a fork (optional)
2 black peppercorns (optional)
Pack tightly with cukes. Pour boiling brine over cukes to 1/2" top of the jar. Wipe the rim with a clean paper towel. Seal and process in boiling water bath for 5 minutes. Remove from canner and let sit in a draft free place until cooled. Store in cool, dark place.

Tips for a crisp pickle:
Pick the cukes in the early morning before they get hot.
Chill them down it water in the frig.
Remove the blossom end and scrub thoroughly.
Add a few grape leaves to each jar.

There's nothing more rewarding than opening a jar of dill pickles that you put up from your own produce. I suddenly have a craving for a crisp dill.
Until next time.....

5 comments:

Jes said...

yummm! I don't follow recipes either and always find it so hard when people want one!

Do you grow garlic?

Katie said...

Yes, I do. We plant it in October here and harvest around July.

Barb said...

Just look at those sprouted cucumber seeds! I used to grow so many I didn't know what to do with them all, but since moving to the west coast, my seeds would get as high as yours and the call would go out to the slug community and they'd disappear overnight. If I cover them with cut-off water bottles, they get taller and then the deer are next in line. I'm learning a whole new frustrating way of gardening and at this point, it's been reduced to herbs and tomatoes in pots.

Tracey said...

My mouth just watered. :)

Thanks so much for sharing this . . . maybe we can have a 'preserve the harvest' thread on Etsy Gardening 101?

Steph said...

Oh my - I really, really want a pickle now!

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