Monday, September 27, 2010

Dill Pickles 101

 Anyone who has ever been to my house during the summer, has had to learn alternative routes to entering and exiting the building. During canning season, every table, shelf, counter and chair is covered with row after row of pickles.

I should probably make guests sign accident wavers.

Because that is just waiting to happen.

This year, between the kitchen remodel and the bizarre weather, I was unable to can all of the things that I would normally can. And it has bothered me. Alot.

Today, I took my girls to Sauvie Island to pick up some apples, pumpkins and winter squash. I had visions of applesauce, apple butter, some yummy pies and baked Danish squash with plenty of butter and brown sugar that we would get be able to enjoy over the winter. I decided that that would have to be enough.

I had a plan. And I was not going to detour from it, no matter how many tantalizing late-season fruits and vegetables there might be or how much my girls begged.

I am weak.

Besides coming home with the apples, pumpkins and Danish, we also brought home cucumbers, pears, corn on the cob, sweet onions and chrysanthemums. 

I'd better start making a path through our family room again. 

This recipe is so easy. It does use vinegar, but doesn't require a canner. To put up 25 lbs. of pickles, it took me an hour. Easy.

Wash the cucumbers.

To make the brine, mix 1 quart of apple cider vinegar, 3 quarts of water, and 1 cup of pickling/canning salt together in a large pot. Bring to boil, then turn down to simmer. Do not let it continue to boil.

In each quart jar, add 1-2 dill heads, 2 cloves of peeled garlic, 1/2 tsp. mixed pickling spices, and 1/8 tsp. alum powder. You can find the pickling spices and alum in the spice section of the grocery store.

Now the easy part. Stuff the jars with cucumbers! It is your choice whether to use whole, speared or sliced cucumbers. I like to mix them up. Make sure that you don't over-stuff the jars though.

Ladle the hot brine into the jars, covering all of the cucumbers.

This is my new apron. I got it at the farm.

I told you~I am weak.

Apply the flat, hot lids and screw them down fairly tight.

Turn the jars upside-down and leave for 24 hours. The hot brine will seal the lids.

After 24 hours, turn the jars right side up and check to see if the jars are sealed. If not, open the jar, reheat the brine and reseal.

Leave the jars alone for 2 weeks, then move them to where ever it is that you store your canned goods.

The pickles can be eaten after 5 days, but they will still be "working", so it's best to leave them alone for the full 2 weeks.

Here's what else I found...

...and wouldn't you know it, our peppers are starting to ripen...all at once! These are chopped, ready to be bagged for the freezer.

And remember the salmon roe?  It's going in the freezer too!

Now, I am officially grounding myself until all of the boxes of produce are canned, frozen, buttered and dried.

Unless I get weak again.

Hey, it could happen.


Mountain Home Quilts said...

I would think something would actually be WRONG with you if you passed up a cute apron! But, hey, that's just me. :)

Cindy said...

Have you ever used grape or oak leaves instead of alum? We have been doing that with our pickled peppers.

Kim said...

Heather, I LOVE my aprons!!! If I'm not careful though, we may have to add on an apron room! :)

Cindy, My grandma used to use grape leaves, but in her crocks of lacto-fermented pickles...I didn't think to use them in my canned pickles!

Anonymous said...

Can you tell me what farm you go to on Sauvie Island? I have looked online but I am not sure what farm to chose. I really, really want to go there!!!!

Kim said...

I went to The Pumpkin Patch~my favorite farm out there...although, I do like Sauvie Island Farms and Kruger's...The Pumpkin Patch is a great place to take the family~there's a lot to see!!!