I talked on Monday about my affinity for pickles.
And C.’s lack thereof. Actually he hates them. If I even make him smell vinegar he starts gagging and says he’s going to puke.
And yet I still married the man. I even surprise myself.
Thankfully, all three of my kiddos LOVE pickles. Well, technically Moseby only eats the center, but they all just gobble them up. Makes my pickle-loving heart smile (and makes it say, ‘Na-Na Na-Na Boo-Boo!’ to C.).
On Wednesday I made 2.5 dozen pints of dill pickles using 18 pounds of pickles that my parents picked up for me in the mountains this past weekend. I like to use a “canning cucumber”–they’re 4-6″ long and the seeds are small. I tried a new recipe I found this year called Pop’s Dill Pickles Recipe (which can be found by clicking here). I did add a fresh clove of garlic to each jar because I think it adds another dimension to the pickle. I also didn’t get rid of the pickling spice (the recipe says to put the three tablespoons of pickling spice in a cheesecloth bag and to take it out before you put the brine (vinegar mixture) in the jars), I think a little bit of the pickling spice in each job keeps the pickles from being too bland. But that’s just my preference. 🙂
Step 1: Cut your pickles up however you want (I divide them in fourth length-wise).
Step 2: Cover with ice. Minimum of 2 hours, maximum of 8 hours. I cut mine up before I took the kids to summer camp (MM is going to cooking camp and Moseby is going to dinosaur camp this week) and to the gym so mine sat for about four hours in the ice. Drain thoroughly when you’re ready to start canning (this is also when you’ll need to turn the heat on your water bath canner (big pot) and a smaller pot of water for your lids and throw them in there (DO NOT BOIL THIS WATER). Sterilize your jars–this recipe calls for pint jars–if you have not already done so (I like running mine through a sterilization cycle of the dishwasher a couple of hours before and then put them in a 200 degree oven on a baking sheet until I’m ready for them). )
Step 3: Get your brine going. Bring to a boil and then let it simmer for 15 minutes or so (notice I am not keeping my pickling spice in a cheesecloth bag).
Step 4: While the brine is cooking go ahead and pack your jars. Put the garlic and some dill in the bottom and then put the cucumbers on top. Pack them as tight as you can (it’s an art form).
Step 5: Pour the brine in with a canning funnel leaving 1/2″ head space and put on lids and rings. Place in a hot water bath for 5 minutes (this changes depending on the recipe, by the way). Once finished place on the counter (jars at least 1/2″ part) and cover with a kitchen towel. Check periodically to make sure the jars are sealed (you shouldn’t be able to press down the center). If they don’t seal for some reason just place them in the refrigerator and eat within two weeks. If they do seal (which they totally should!) they can keep in a cool, dry place for up to a year. I think these pickles taste best after sitting at least a month, but I know some pickle lovers who just can’t wait. 😉
Here are the materials I use for canning (and have used for 10+ years–I’ve never had to replace them–it’s an investment that lasts a lifetime!):
Six Piece Canning Tool Set for $13 shipped (You’ve GOT TO have this to can)
Happy canning, friends! Feel free to ask any questions about canning–I’ll be more than happy to answer. 🙂
Past Pickle Canning Fun on the Old Blog: