Monday, July 28, 2008

Death Defying Adventures in Pickling

No ones ever showed me how to pickled. My parents didn't cook so it goes without saying that they certainly did not pickle or prepare preserves. Why pickly when you can just by them at the grocery store? For the pleasure of making your own food, would be my answer to that. But that's me.

Another thing about pickling is the fear of killing someone due to botulism. But the recipe I found made it sound really easy. So I bought little cucumbers, ripped apart what little my dill plant had produces, made a quarter recipe of what you will find below and made pickles. Now I just have to wait 2 months before updating this post.

Aside: Something I found out about the salts in pickling is that regular table salt contains iodine which discolors the vegetables when pickling. Pickling salt or Kosher salt do not have this property therefore making for a more attractive end result. Sea salt is to be avoided because of the trace minerals found in this delicious variety...too bad.

Dill Pickles

8 pounds 3 to 4 inch long pickling cucumbers
4 cups white vinegar
12 cups water
2/3 cup pickling salt
16 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
8 sprigs fresh dill weed
8 heads fresh dill weed

1. Wash cucumbers, and place in the sink ( I use the bathtub!) with cold water and lots of ice cubes. Soak in ice water for at least 2 hours but no more than 8 hours. Refresh ice as required. Sterilize 8 (1 quart ) canning jars and lids in boiling water for at least 10 minutes.

2. In a large pot over medium-high heat, combine the vinegar, water, and pickling salt. Bring the brine to a rapid boil.

3. In each jar, place 2 half-cloves of garlic, one head of dill, then enough cucumbers to fill the jar (about 1 pound). Then add 2 more garlic halves, and 1 sprig of dill. Fill jars with hot brine. Seal jars, making sure you have cleaned the jar's rims of any residue.

4. Process sealed jars in a boiling water bath. Process quart jars for 15 minutes.

5. Store pickles for a minimum of 8 weeks before eating. Refrigerate after opening. Pickles will keep for up to 2 years if stored in a cool dry place.

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