Monday, July 9, 2012

Dill Pickles

Dill
plus

Cucumbers
equals

Heaven
Following is a good dill pickle recipe. I don't know if it's the exact recipe my Grandma used, but I think it's as close as I'll ever come.

'Agnes' cucumbers
This year I'm growing 'Agnes' cucumbers. They're small, sweet, and have very thin skin. They did very well for me here last year, so this year I planted more in the hopes of making some pickles. This morning I got a bumper crop of cucumbers ... 

and dill.
 (Which I didn't plant.) 
Dill is one of those plants that just wants to be a weed. Plant it on purpose, and you'll never get any. Drop some seed in the gravel by accident, and you'll never get rid of it.


First, start your cucumbers soaking in icy water. 
While they chill and crisp, wash your jars, and bring your giant canning kettle full of water to a boil.

This recipe is for 8 quarts:

*8 pounds cucumbers
*4 cups white vinegar
*12 cups water
*2/3 cup pickling salt
*16 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced in half
*8 heads fresh dill (pick heads with green seeds, not dry, not in bloom)
*8 pinches red pepper flakes

-Mix vinegar, water, and salt in a large pot and bring to a rapid boil. This is your brine.


  
-Into each jar, place 2 half cloves of garlic, and 1 head of dill. Fill with cucumbers, then add 2 more garlic pieces and a pinch of red pepper flakes. 


-Fill jars with boiling hot brine, leaving a little space at the top. Seal the jars and place them in the kettle of boiling water. 


-Boil for 15 min.* then lift out onto counter to cool. You will hear the jars click when they seal.

*About that 15 minute thing, my Grandparents had a running argument about pickle cooking time. Grandpa thought they needed to go at least 15 minutes. That's how his mother did it, and no one in his family ever died from his mom's pickles. My Grandma didn't like them cooked to mush, so she would just boil them for 5 minutes or so. None of us ever died from her crunchy pickles, so in keeping with the spirit of this particular recipe, I've elected to boil the jars for 8 minutes.  

-Last is the hardest part. You have to wait 8 weeks for the pickles to cure. But, I can tell you from experience, they're pretty good the very next day.

26 comments :

  1. My dd would love to make pickles, she's six;) but that also means I'd have to grow more than 2 cucumbers a week! Congratulations on your good cucumber harvest and hope your pickles are delish as my dd would say;)

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    1. My 72-year-old Mom calls things "delish"! My Grandma was her Mom, of course. Grow a couple of rows of cucumbers with your dd next year. Those memories will stay with her forever.

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  2. Gosh, that sounds delicious. I've been canning plums like crazy, and making plum wine. I've also been making kimchi, which is pickle-ish.

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    1. Anything plum, wine, or pickle is a-ok with me! Combining these things can only be better.

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  3. Your pickles sound delicious. 8 weeks, that sure is a long time to wait.

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    1. I can't imagine anyone will. That's ok. It gives us something to shoot for.

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  4. I do love homemade dill pickles. Lots of work involved in it though. Yours sound wonderful. I've never canned myself but have enjoyed others hard work.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

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    1. That's the way to do it, but you have to know someone who cans. My Grandma would get so mad when we'd raid the pickle stash. All her hard work, gone in a few days.

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  5. Ah so thats the secret to growing dill - I really struggle with it but haven't tried the gravel trick - he, he. I think this year I will sprinkle it liberally about the garden and see what happens.

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    1. You should! It really works. With parsley and chamomile too.

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  6. AnonymousJuly 10, 2012

    Ha ha! I never knew about the Grandma vs Grandpa pickle conflict! Gpa always says they never had a fight in 72 years, so if this was as close as they got, that's fine with me. Again, beautiful post sis. See you next wknd!

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    Replies
    1. Yep, it was pretty funny. This was when I was in college. I had the feeling it had been going on since his mom lived with them. She allowed him to disagree, then ignored him and did what she wanted. THAT'S the secret to their long, happy marriage.

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  7. Replies
    1. My Grandma would approve!

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  8. When my oldest daughter was little I grew a row of cucumbers and filled 5 gal. buckets with brined pickles which never lasted till next year because it seemed like she could eat her weight in pickles in a day!

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    1. That's a girl after my own heart! You have such a good memory there. I bet she does too. What is it about pickles?

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  9. That's so true about dill. Whenever I grow it, it just goes to seed. And I love pickled cucumbers. What great pickling jars you have.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! You are the first one to ever compliment my jars.

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  10. Congratulation on your GrandPa's 100 Birthday!
    May your Grandfather ,you and your family will be filled with happiness.
    By the way I'm not familia with dill pickles cucumbers,but yours looks delicious. And I took interest in dill pickles,and enjoyed reading your nice recipe. It was also fun to see your shape of ice. Because I always use only cube ice. I have never seen tangerine's segment shaped ice before. It is very fun to find new thing for me. Thank you very much for wonderful recipe.

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    1. Thank you! Our family had a wonderful time celebrating 100 years with our Grandpa. That is funny about the ice! The curved pieces are from the automatic ice maker in our freezer. I kind of miss ice cube trays and square ice- it melts slower in your drinks! Glad you liked the recipe. Do you ever make pickles in Japan?

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  11. Some Japanese often make pickles. I often make only lightly-pickled vegetables. Especially,Lightly-pickled cucumber with some ginger,Japanese basils and seaweed is my family's favorite. But I haven't ever made bottled pickles, That is why I took an interest in your recipe.
    By the way,the curved pieces are made from the automatic ice maker,aren't they? Thank you so much for telling me about it.

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    1. Your ginger pickles sound good! I hope you post the recipe.

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  12. OK, so you're the Martha Stewart of dill pickles. Won't do it but it was fun to see the process. Best, P,

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    1. Hi Patrick!
      Martha really wouldn't approve of my complete lack of style, but I do like making pickles. Glad you enjoyed the lesson.

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  13. Oh wow beautiful bounty of cucumbers! I enjoyed the step by step instruction for making cucumber pickles. I am never good at preserving our produce.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed the lesson too! I hope you give it a try next season.

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