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Tuesday, 30 August 2011

However Did This Get Started?

I make dozens of jars of garlic dill pickles every year.  I don't eat dills.  I just make them for my children, their husbands, their children, my friends, my neighbours, my lawyer (don't ask me how that got started) and anyone else who professes a fondness for little, shrivelled cucumbers in glass containers. 

It started many years ago when my daughter would only eat Grandpa's pickles.  I would
order them up politely request a few jars and he would kindly deliver them.  That is the civilized way to do home canning!  I was very happy with the system.  I'm thinking he was not quite as thrilled with it.  One year, when I placed my order, he arrived with a basket of cucumbers and the secret family recipe.
I bought canning pots, jars, lids, rings, dill, vinegar, garlic and salt.  This was not an economical system at all!  I spent hours giving myself a vinegar facial, burning my hands on hot jars and turning my kitchen into a disaster zone.  I was hot and I was tired.  But, when that first lid snapped shut, the excitement and feeling of accomplishment was wonderful!

My father in law (the original pickle maker) has passed away and I keep the tradition going.  It's a great way to butter up the son in laws!

I'd love to make them for all of you but instead will share the secret family recipe.

 To turn this ~


Into this ~



Garlic Dill Pickles

3 Quarts water
1 Quart all natural vinegar (I use President's Choice All Natural)
1/2 Cup rock salt
1 Bunch dill
6 Quart basket of #2 size cucumbers (organic if possible)
Garlic

Sterilize 6-9 quart sealer jars in a large preserving kettle.  You can do this a bit ahead of time and place them on a cookie sheet in an oven warmed to 200F. 
In a large preserving kettle, bring to a full boil, water, vinegar and salt.
Fill jars with washed cucumbers, a couple of heads of dill and 2 peeled garlic cloves.
Fill jars to top with boiling brine.Cap and let sit for 5 mins.
(Now here's the secret)
Dump the brine off the pickles and back into the preserving kettle.  Put the caps on the jars to keep the them sterile.  Bring the brine back to a full boil.  Refill the jars to the top with the brine. 
Hand tighten the rings and leave the jars to cool before moving them.  You will hear the lids snap shut. 
Leave for six weeks to "cure" before eating.




Decorator tip:
Canning sealers, especially vintage ones with zinc tops, make wonderful decorative accents.  I use them for everything from flower vases to tea light holders.  They seal (hence the name sealers) keeping moisture and any other unwanted (hmmm mice?) things out for great dry storage.  For display, they fit perfectly in the vintage milk bottle carrier I bought for $22.00 and you can usually pick up antique sealers for about $10.00 each.


Enjoy your vinegar facial!