Thursday, July 15, 2010

Pickling - How we make Dill Pickles

In our first pickling attempt we started with 16 cucumbers and ended up making 6 - Quart size wide mouth jars of Dill Pickle Spears.



5 days later we had 9 cucumbers and canned 4 - Quart jars of Dill Pickle Slices with some extra slices that weren't enough for a whole jar.




Here is the Recipe we used courtesy of my sister. . .

Dill Pickles
--Dianna Brewer
2009

Soak cucumbers in ice bath (min 2 hrs/max 8 hrs)
Boil jars and lids to sterilize, Keep hot until ready to fill, Keep lids & bands hot too.
Brine: 6 cups water, 2 cups white vinegar, 1/3 cup pickling salt } Bring to boil

Fill jars in this order:
In bottom of jar put 2 pieces garlic clove, 1--1 ½ heads of dill (the flower)
Then fill jar with cucumber slices or wedges
Next add 1 piece of garlic clove and a big sprig of dill (the greens)
Pour hot brine to fill w/in ½ inch of top
Wipe rim of jar, then set on hot lids, and put on rings fingertip tight.
Boil jars, covered in water for 10 min, remove, and allow to cool on a towel on the counter. Push down gently on lids when completely cooled to be sure they are sealed (not sealed=popping,flexing)

 16 Cucumbers

 Ice Bath

Pouring in Brine




A few things we did, noticed, learned. . .

We used normal tongs to pick the jars out of the boiling water. This felt a little dangerous because of how short the tongs were. Using my sisters special Jar grabbing tongs didn't really work either because we had the jars on their sides. I think the best bet is if you have a big enough pot and the jars standing on end so you can use the specialty tongs to grab them from the top down. It seems it will be worth it to buy the jar tongs, a rack and canning pot that the rack will Actually fit in and a lid magnet. We didn't really need the wide mouth funnel that we bought as we just used a 1 cup measuring cup and scooped the water out of the pot right into the jars.

The only thing we did Not do was boiling the jars after they were filled. In the future, if I get a pair of the tongs for picking out the jars and a rack to set them vertical in the pot, we might boil them for a few minutes. I feel that 10 minutes is just way too much cooking on the cucumbers. I guess time will tell if we erred in this choice. It is supposed to ensure that any bacteria is completely gone from the canning process so that your food will last longer on the shelf. Anyways our lids are definitely sealed so that's good!

We found that only about 2 1/2 of our cucumbers were fitting in these quart jars. Now if we picked them smaller we would fit more obviously, but would also have smaller spears. So which would be better?

The quantity of brine listed in the recipe was enough for about 3 1/2 Quart jars because I remember making 1 1/2 batches of it which would be:  9 cups water, 3 cups white vinegar.


Something we won't know till 2 months from now when we can try the pickles; the recipe calls out for 3 pcs of garlic per jar. Well my sister used Pint jars in her recipe and we used Quart. So we are thinking we should have used more garlic and dill. But we didn't buy enough to use more at the time. So it will have to do.

Another thing we will probably do with some of the next jars we will be canning is adding some peppercorn, and or spicy peppers of some sort to create more flavors of pickles. I will probably have to look up some recipe ideas for this so I don't make them too blazing hot or not hot enough! Anyone have ideas Please let me know!



Nyssa made some nice labels for our pickles!




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