posted on Apr, 25 2013 @ 12:37 AM
This recipe is an intro to pickling that does not require proper canning. It is a refrigerator pickle meaning it is not shelf stable and must be kept
chilled. The plus side is that you do not need to create a seal because the pickles are stored in the fridge. The negative is the pickles must be
stored in the fridge...so only make as many as you have room for.
If you already know how to can, skip past the asterisks section to the recipe. Otherwise READ this important tutorial about safe canning. Unless you
want to die. (LOL..No really read this)
Lids and bands (typically together) can be found in the seasonal/produce section of your supermarket and other horrible places (Lowes, Wal Mart,
Target, etc.) For pickles, be sure to buy wide-mouthed jars so you can get the pickles out of the jar later (trust me on this). You can use pint or
quart sized jars depending on how much you are canning and your space limitations.
For this recipe I suggest grabbing one whole tray of wide-mouth canning jars w/lids. Save any extras for later.
SAFE TUTORIAL ABOUT CANNING -- WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW FOR THIS RECIPE
Canned foods that are not pressure canned or boiled for at least 10 minutes in a boiling water bath must have their jars and lids pre-sterilized. That
includes this recipe.
To do this fill a very large pot with water and immerse your jars, lids, and screw bands so they are completely covered with water. It will take about
twenty minutes to bring to a boil. Boil for ten minutes, then leave the jars in the hot water until you are ready to go (I usually get the water
started while I'm prepping so the jars are ready without delay.)
The absolute key to safe canning is sterilization. Things must be hot and your tools, work surfaces, cloths and hands must be absolutely clean. Don't
cut corners - ever! The good news is a recipe like this is very forgiving due to the vinegar and the refrigeration. The worst you can probably do is
make crappy tasting pickles. But get accustomed to being vigilant. That is the basis of good canning.
The below will make **approximately** four quart sized jars or 8 pint sized jars depending on pickle size and cut preference.
4-5 pounds of cukes (the smaller the better - they needn't be pickling cukes though those have better skins and less seeds)
12-15 heads of fresh dill OR 2 Tbsp dill seed (fresh is better)
1 Tbsp pickling spice, all cloves removed
Small pinch of red pepper flakes
Garlic cloves - enough for 1-2 per jar depending on the size
6 cups of water
2 cups of white vinegar (never use homemade vinegar for canning - a 5% solution is essential and homemade concentrations will vary unless precisely
1/2 cup kosher salt (NOT table salt - iodine RUINS pickles - kosher salt only)
Chill your cukes in the fridge for at least an hour (or more) before beginning.
When ready to begin get your water and jars started (aka boiling).
Mix the spices in a bowl. If using fresh dill wash and cut to desired size (the stems can be used). Prepare the vinegar and water in a pot and set
Wash the cukes thoroughly. Cut off the blossom ends (these contain enzymes which spoil the pickles). Cut the cukes into halves or spears or slices
depending on the desired size. Be sure to cut the cukes to a length that will fit in the jars no more than 1/4 inch from the top (or they won't stay
in the brine.). Put the cukes back in the fridge until the jars have finished sterilizing, if necessary.
Put the brine on to boil then remove the lids and rings from the hot water, dry and set aside, covered. Remove the hot jars from the water and place
on a clean dishtowel. Pack the cukes tightly (they will shrink) and distribute the garlic, dill and spices evenly among the jars. Pour the brine into
the jars almost to the top. To keep the pickles submerged use wooden skewers across the jars or small containers filled with water or rocks (anything
that will keep the pickles down in the brine).
Let the jars rest 3-4 hours covered with a clean cotton towel. Cap with lids and rings and refrigerate. You can start testing them after about fours
days but I find they taste best after about two weeks. These will keep, refrigerated, for about a year or two.