Friday, June 28, 2013

Pickle Quest 2013: The Dill Pickle

Pickle season is upon us and it’s time for me to venture into the world of dill pickles. I’m pretty sure I have Bread and Butter pickles down cold, but the dills have eluded me like a Paula Deen interview on the Today Show.

It’s really a balancing act and if you don’t get it right, you’re left with flabby, overly salty pickles until next year when pickling cukes are in season. I’ve fermented them, hot kettle canned them, tried different vinegars, whatever, and it’s been a true hit-and-miss for the past 7 or 8 years. This year, I’m super excited to be canning my VERY OWN, home grown pickling cukes. I planted Boston Pickling cucumber seedlings in April and they’ve given me enough cukes so far to make 8 quarts of pickles!

This year, I’m sticking to the K.I.S.S. (keep it simple stupid) mind set and used the Joy of Pickling Really Quick Dill recipe. What do I have to lose?

Really Quick Dill Pickles
Recipe Source: Joy of Pickling
Makes 6 pints or 3 quarts

4 pounds 4-inch pickling cucumbers, blossom ends removed
24 whole black peppercorns
1 garlic head, cloves separated, peeled and chopped
6 small dried hot peppers (I used dried pepper flakes, about ½ tsp per jar)
6 dill heads, with sprigs (I used dried dill, about 1 tsp per jar)
2 3⁄4 cups cider vinegar, white wine vinegar, or distilled white vinegar
3 cups water
1⁄4 cup pickling salt

I usually double the pickling brine recipe, as I’ve almost always need more brine than the recipe calls for.

Second Note: I also use food grade Calcium Cholride (a.k.a Pickle Crisp) in each jar to prevent flabby pickles. I use 1 1/2 tsps per quart jar, but be sure to use the recommended amount.

1. Halve or quarter the cucumbers lengthwise, if you like, or leave them whole. Divide the peppercorns, garlic, and hot peppers (if you’re using them) among 6 pint or 3 quart mason jars. Pack a portion of the cucumbers into each jar along with some dill.

2. In a saucepan, bring the vinegar, water, and salt to a boil, stirring to dissolve the salt. Pour the hot liquid over the cucumbers, leaving ½ inch headspace. Close the jars with two-piece caps. In a BWB, process pint jars for 10 minutes, quart jars for 15 minutes. Or pasteurize the jars for 30 minutes by immersing them in water heated to 180° to 185°F.

3. Store the pickles for at least 1 month in a cool, dry place before eating them. After opening a jar, store it in the refrigerator.


Garden Girl said...

I love this recipe and it is my go to one. The whole book has lots of good recipes. However, I do swap out 1/4 cup of the vinegar for a red wine vinegar (same acidity strength). And I do the 180 degrees for 30 minutes. Pretty good luck with it!

Just the Right Size said...

Thanks Garden Girl! I have made a ton of pickles this way this season and have yet to try them to see if I have a winner.

Guess I need to get around to that, huh? :-)


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