Friday, September 4, 2009

Ome's Dill Pickles

I've told you before about my husband's Ome and her canning skills when I posted her Pickled Beets recipe but if there are two things that Ome is most famous for it's her sauerkraut and dill pickles. Both are the best I have ever had. I'll have to wait on trying to make sauerkraut until the next time I see her because I believe it's quite involved and I would rather have her expert eye watching over me while I make it. But the dill pickles, I couldn't wait to give those a try.

The local farms around here are all selling large quantities of pickling cucumbers right now so if you don't grow your own you will likely have to visit a local farm or Farmer's Market. Support your local farmers! (Off soapbox.) You'll need the cucumbers to be fresh. Like uber fresh. As my Royal Canadian Legion Ladies' Auxiliary Cookbook from 1974 (which has a whole chapter on pickles says,) "24 hours from vine to brine." Ome used to pick hers from her garden, of course, but I planted mine late this year, of course, so I probably won't have my pickling cukes for another month or so. Anyway, I bought 7 lbs from a local farm and got down to it.

I love, love, love canning. It's my new favorite hobby and my cellar is already getting nicely stocked up. From 7 lbs of cucumbers that cost me $6.99, I got 8 jars of dill pickles. Canning is such a great cost effective way to preserve food that is in season. It is so rewarding and allows you to be a little more self sufficient. In times like these, that is a very good feeling.

7 pounds pickling cucumbers, 3 to 4 inches long
10 cups water
4 cups white vinegar (with an acidity of 5%)
2/3 cup pickling salt
16 cloves garlic, roughly chopped in large chunks
16 sprigs (stem and head) fresh dill weed

Sterilize 8 1 quart jars by either running them through the hot cycle of a dishwasher or placing clean jars in boiling water for 10 minutes. Wash the lids and rings and keep them in hot water until you need them. Thoroughly wash your cucumbers and have them standing by. Bring to a boil the water, vinegar and pickling salt and boil for 1 minute. Place equal amounts of chopped garlic in the bottom of each jar. Place 1 sprig of dill in each jar. Pack the jars equally with the cucumbers. Pour the hot brine over the cucumbers. Place the lids on and process the jars in a hot water bath for 10 minutes. Remove the jars and allow to cool completely. Store the pickles in a cool, dark place. They will be ready to eat in 4-6 weeks. Once opened, store the pickles in the refrigerator.

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