Saturday, September 14, 2013

Dill Pickles

Can-it-Forward Day is over, but it seems I've caught the canning bug. I bought pickling cucumbers at the farmer's market, and then went looking for dill. Unfortunately, I couldn't find nice fronds with heads that the recipe I used called for, so I used baby dill.

I bought a whole bunch of small pickling cucumbers, and some that were more of a medium size. I had enough of the little ones to fill two pint jars, and I sliced the rest of them into rounds. The photo in the booklet showed the cucumbers sliced lengthwise, but I thought rounds would be better.

And then ... when I measured the cider vinegar I had, I didn't have enough. Bah! So I used half cider vinegar and half white vinegar.

It turned out that I had enough pickling liquid for five jars of pickles. Which was fine, because I had plenty of pickles. What I didn't have, though, was enough garlic. I only had three cloves, so the first three jars got garlic. The last jars didn't.

And then, since I was already so far off the map, I decided not to use the bay leaves. Just because.

Meanwhile, I bought more tomatoes. I'm not sure yet what I'll do with those. Maybe just sauce for the freezer. We'll see.

Dill Pickles
Adapted from Ball's Beginner's Guide to Canning & Recipe Booklet

The pickles are the same - the greener ones are in blue jars.
2 tablespoons pickling spice
1 1/4 cups cider vinegar
1 1/4 cups white vinegar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup pickling salt
1 garlic clove for each pint jar
1 head of dill or springs of dill for each jar
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds for each pint jar
Rounded 1/8 teaspoon pickle crisp for each pint jar
3 bay leaves (optional - I didn't use them)
Pickling cucumbers, as needed to fill 5 pint jars, sliced into rounds

Prepare jars and lids and stockpot or canner*.

Tie the pickling spice in some cheesecloth and put it into a saucepan. Add the vinegars, sugar, and salt. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 15 minutes to let the spice flavor infuse into the liquid. Stir as needed to help the sugar and salt dissolve - but it will probably do that on its own.

When the jars are hot, add the garlic, dill, mustard seeds, pickle crisp, and the bay leaves, if you're using them.

Pour the hot pickling liquid over the pickles. Remove any air bubbles in the jar, and check the headspace on the jars - it should be 1/2 inch.

Wipe the jar rims, put the lids on, and put the jar rings on finger-tight. Process* the jars in hot water for 15 minutes (I had to process for 25 minutes since I'm at high altitude). Turn off the heat, let the jars sit for 5 minutes, then remove the jars and let them cool.

*If you're new at canning, check a canning book or reliable online site for instructions. I blogged about it here, but I also suggest you double-check other sources.