Garlic Dill Pickles
To make dill pickles is to capture the flavours of the summer garden in a jar-the tangy, pungent odor of dill, the crispness of a fresh cucumber, the rich taste of garlic. If you have always wanted to make your own dill pickles, be assured that it is a simple process. With a few supplies and an hour or two of time, you can make enough pickles to last the winter.Canning is not without its dangers, but two precautions will ensure that the pickles are safe to eat:
*Sterilize your jars and all the pickling equipment you intend to use by boiling in hot water for at least five minutes
*Make sure the lid is sealed after you are finished pickling and before eating the pickles; discard the contents of all unsealed jars
With that in mind, here are some instructions to help you get started.
Garlic Dill Pickles
(Makes 7 Jars)
- Canner or large stockpot
- Stockpot or large cooking pot, at least 5 quarts
- Jar rack with handles (usually comes with canner)
- 1 quart jars (these can be purchased new or used and can be re-used for many years)
- Screw bands (these can be re-used several times as long as they’re in good condition)
- Snap lids (these should always be purchased new and discarded after first use)
- Wide-mouth funnel
- Large tongs with rubber handles for handling hot jars
- Fork or knife
- 1/3 cup of salt
- 1 quart of vinegar (5% acetic acid)
- 3 quarts water
- 2-3 large heads of dill per jar
- 1 clove garlic per jar
- 1 tsp alum per jar (grape leaves can be substituted if desired)
- Small to medium sized cucumbers (one large bagful should be enough)
- For hot pickles, add 1-3 red chili peppers per jar, sliced lengthwise
- Thoroughly wash cucumbers; a brush may be helpful for scrubbing off dirt. Cut medium-sized cucumbers lengthwise into quarters if desired. For extra crispness, cucumbers can be soaked in ice water two hours prior to canning.
- Place jars on jar rack and set the rack inside the canner or stockpot; add the lids, screw bands, and all other canning supplies. Fill the canner with water; you do not need to cover everything as long as you place the lid over the top so that anything not covered in water is immersed in steam. Bring to a boil; boil at least five minutes before turning off heat.
- Remove jars from the canner by lifting the jar rack by the handles; remove any water in the jars and remove the canning supplies from the canner.
- In a large pot, add 3 quarts of water, 1 quart of vinegar, and 1/3 cup of salt; this will be the brine (you can also make the brine in the canner or stockpot you used to sterilize the jars). Bring to a rolling boil.
- In the meantime, fill each jar with garlic, alum, dill, peppers (if desired) and cucumbers.
- Once the brine is boiling, place the funnel on the jar and ladle the brine in, just enough to cover or almost cover the cucumbers.
- Once the jars are filled, poke around the edges of each jar with a knife or fork to bring all air bubbles to the surface. Make sure there are no air bubbles left before you seal the jars.
- Place a snap lid on each jar and twist the screw band as tightly as you can. Within the next few days, and often in just a few hours, the lids will seal. Sometimes a jar will lose its seal during storage, so always check the seal before you open a jar and make sure it makes a popping sound when opened. An unsealed jar indicates the presence of potentially dangerous bacteria, so discard the contents of all unsealed jars.
- After just six weeks (it helps to write the date on the lid after canning), the pickles will be ready to eat.
Submitted by Jennifer Bobowski