Favorite Dill Pickles

Dear jarred,

We love dill pickles – a lot. We eat a lot of them. I prefer to can them whole – with the blossom end trimmed off, of course – because spears can tend to get a little soft. Sometimes I’ll open a jar, cut them into spears, and then replace them in the brine and stash in the fridge for snacking.

How do YOU like your dill pickles?

I’ve talked about these on the blog before, but we need to talk about them again!

The pictures here came from one of our 3-day long canning sessions with the legendary Domestic Endeavors. Her spacious, airy house is perfect for long assembly lines and her giant refrigerator holds enough food to feed multiple armies!!! We always leave her house feeling well-fed, happy and exhausted from our productive labors.

She shared a dill pickle recipe with me, which was given to her by a friend, and is a very simple and basic recipe and simply DELICIOUS. My uncle later gave me HIS favorite family recipe, and it was virtually identical except for the batch sizes – this must be a true classic!!!

I have used this recipe to pickle green beans (dilly beans), squash, okra, tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic and anything else I find in the fridge during pickling season.

Download the recipe here. Read about the Food Lab pickling event here.

Simple Dill Pickle Recipe

Substrate:

32 lb 4″ pickling cucumbers (10 lb smaller, 12 lb larger)
10 onions (1/3 per quart)
4 garlic bulbs (2 cloves per quart)
2 – 3 bunches dill (1 – 2 blossoms per quart)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper per quart
1/2 teaspoon alum per quart (optional – we never used this. Alternatively, you could try a grap leaf, or just leave it out altogether)
1 teaspoon pickling spice per quart
Put all ingredients except cucumbers and onions in jar. Cut onions in thirds, add to jars, then pack in cucumers, Begin heating water bath, then prepare brine.

Brine:

3 quart filtered water
1 quart apple cider vinegar (Bragg’s is my favorite – if you buy another brand, beweare it does not say apple cider flavored vinegar)
1 cup pickling salt
(Takes about four batches)
Cover cucumbers to 1/2″ headspace with boiling brine. Wipe rims, screw on lids and rings. Process 10 – 15 minutes. Remove and store 6 – 8 weeks to allow flavors to penetrate.

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Fresh dill is where it all begins. Finding fresh dill is the hardest ingredient to source, but it makes ALL the difference in the finished product.

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Long, firm beans have the ends snapped off and are prepared to go into seasoned jars for pickling. Acres of beans.

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A good recipe should be nice and spattered! A really good recipe needs to be reprinted every time, ha!!!

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Jars are filled with seasonings and lined up to be packed with cucumbers or green beans. By the time we get to the end of the day I am usually digging through the fridge to see what else I can try pickling. I usually do a few jars of just onions – pickled onions are AMAZING – and some 4-ounce jars of garlic cloves.  My father-in-law loves those, but he’s only allowed to eat them when my mother-in-law is out of town!

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Green beans and cucumbers are packed in as tightly as they reasonably can be, without crushing or smashing.

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Outside, a washing assembly line is set up. I like to start with fresh, organic produce. Cucumbers have to be canned within 24 hours of picking for optimal crispness in the jar! The first washing stage can be whatever you like to use to cleanse your produce – I use Thieves Fruit and Veggie Soak to make sure there are no dangerous residues or “friends” in the produce. You can use a non-toxic dish soap like Thieves Dish Soap and add Grapeseed Extract, a drop of Digize Essential Oil, or another favorite edible cleaner.

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The following bussing tubs contain water and the cucumbers are shifted from the soapy cleansing water through several stages of rinsing water until they are completely rinsed and soap-free. From there, they are taken inside for trimming and packing.

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Cucumbers have to be kept cold and crisp! Miz Carmen had the brilliant idea of lining the bottom of the cooler with blocks of Blue Ice and clean towels!! This kept the cucumbers icy-chilled all day. And yes, it was in the baking 90s.

 

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Packed jars, ready to load in the canner. A rim-wiper cleans the tops and then adds lids and rings. A busser loads them into a bussing tray and whisks them outside to the rows of canners.

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It’s nice to have a team manning the canners!

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We were kept well-hydrated by our hostess, who kept us loaded up with ice-cold quart jars of Trim Healthy Mama drinks. One of the other canning ladies crocheted adorable jar cozies that kept our drinks cold and our hands dry!

 

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The finished product is so satisfying – every canner loves to see rows of shiny, clean lids, and hear that satisfying pop of the lids sealing! Once they had cooled for 24 hours, we removed the rings for another day’s use, washed the rims and threads of the jars, and took our individual cases home to enjoy all year long.

Much love,

Andrea

Instacool – I like pictures 
Oils – I like oils

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