Posts Tagged ‘foodie’

Canning with Grandma: Dill Pickles

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Cale loves Kosher Dill pickles. Unlike the the sweet Bread-and-Butter Pickles he likes the old school sour ones and eats them like french fries. As a fun surprise and a way to save the mound of cucumbers growing on my kitchen counter I decided to grab Grandma’s expertise and try my hand at pickling!

STAGE 1: Presterilize the jars
Time to make those purchased jars sanitary. Using a tall pot boil 2-4 inches of water. Once boiling, slowly lower the jars one at a time with a canning rack (or with grilling tongs) and let boil for 2-5 minutes. Pull jars out and set aside.

*Plan to fill 5 quart jars

STAGE 2: Create Vinegar Mixture
Combine 3/4 c. pickling salt, 9 c. water, 3 c. 5% acid strength cider vinegar and 1/2 tsp. mustard seeds in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil.

STAGE 3: Prepare the jars.
While bringing the vinegar mixture to a boil cut cucumber ends off and slice into strips. Place cucumbers, 2 heads of dill, 1 clove of garlic (or 1/8 tsp. of garlic powder) and 1 strip of a red pepper into each jar.

STAGE 4: Pour Vinegar Mixture Into Cucumber Jars
Once vinegar mixture has reached a boil for a solid minute (while stirring), pour liquid over cucumbers , filling jars 1/4-inch from the top. Place lids on top and tighten with a wet rag.

STAGE 5: Preserve the Cucumbers.
Place cucumber jars for 15 minutes in boiling water. Start the processing time after the pot is filled with the jars and the water has come to a boil.

* Process quart jars for 15 minutes and pint jars for 10 minutes.

STAGE 6: Cool and Store the Jars
Remove jars from boiling water after 15 minutes. Cool on wire racks 12 to 24 hours. If lids pop back up after sitting for 24 hours place jars in the fridge. Dill Pickles need to be cured for about three weeks. Changes in color, flavor and acidity are all a part of the curing process.

*Do not test lid tops until after 24 hours.

I just love how beautiful fresh ingredients can truly be! The bold colors would be a great display for any kitchen shelf and definitely add some color for those winter months.  I did not plan a head this year but will definitely grow fresh dill and garlic for next year! Even if you don’t have a garden visit your local Oklahoma City Farmer’s Market to purchase the freshest ingredients. Just this weekend my mom purchased 3 cucumbers for a $1.00 at a farmer’s market in Kansas. There are some great seasonal deals going on so take advantage and support local!

This is one recipe that I’ll be praying everything goes sour! Let us know how your pickles turn out and feel free to share any helpful tips.

SUPPLY LIST:
• 5 quart jars w/ lids
• 2 large pots
• tongs
• cake cooling rack (old cookie sheet)

• 1 large red pepper (cut into 5 strips)
• 5 lbs. cucumbers
• 3/4 c. pickling salt (different than regular salt!)
• 9 c. water
• 3 c. 5% acid strength vinegar
• 1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
• 10 heads of fresh dill
• 5 garlic cloves (1/8 garlic powder)

* Recipe taken from the Farm Journal’s Homemade Pickles & Relishes by Betsy McCracken.

Want to know how to can your own jam? Check out our Canning with Grandma Part 1: Plum Jam.

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Canning with Grandma: Plum Jam

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To Jam or Jelly that is the question? For me (Meg) it personally came down to two arguments; convenience and preference. Similar to yogurt with fruit chunks, jams tend to include pieces of the fruit instead of a more blended texture. Since jelly is made from extracting fruit juices, most people prefer making jelly with seed based fruits, like blackberries, to ensure there are no seeds in their jelly.

Personally, I happen to like fruit chunks (call me weird) and my Grandma thinks it’s a little easier to boil down the fruit and sift through a food strainer/sauce maker instead of extracting the fruit juice with cheesecloth. In other words, we went for the plumb jam.


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