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Thursday, September 5, 2013

Thursday Recipe - Quick Dill Pickles

Yep, more pickles. I love neighbors who can grow veggies and make up for my black thumbs. These are super easy to put together and customize, plus you can use those cucumbers that got too big for most pickle recipes. If the seeds are hard and nasty, just quarter the cucumbers and cut out the seeds.

Dill is really easy to grow. It's called a weed for a reason. It makes a really decorative plant. It's lacy and tall and has fun seed heads. Wait until the seed is fully formed before picking and harvesting the seed heads. The lacy leaves can be picked and used fresh or picked and dried anytime.

And as always, a warning about home canning. Make sure you know what you're doing or you could give you family something nasty like botulism. I stick mostly with jams, jellies, and pickles because they have the least chance of spoiling. Make sure your jars and equipment are very clean, sterilize in your dishwasher if you can. Scrub the vegetables really well. Don't try canning with grocery store produce, most of it has been treated with chemicals and things that might affect the end product. Buy good produce from a farmer's market or roadside stand or grow it yourself. It's pretty easy to grow most vegetables, unless you have black thumbs like me.

For more information on home canning, check out the USDA website.

Quick-Pack Dill Pickles

Wash and slice enough cucumbers to fill 8 pint jars. Pack them in tightly.
Add:
1/2 t. dill seed PER JAR
1/2 t. dried dill weed PER JAR
OR one full seed head of dill PER JAR

Mix the following in a large saucepan:
6 T. pickling salt
3 c. vinegar (white 5% acidity)
3 c. water


Bring to a boil. Pour hot liquid over the cucumbers in each jar, filling them to within half inch of the top. Clean the rims of the jars and cover with a new lid. Screw on the ring and tighten.

Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes (for pint jars) at sea level, 20 minutes at my altitude (~5500 ft). Let cool completely. Check the seal, then store in a cool, dark location for at least two weeks before eating.

OR

Store the jars in the fridge for a week, then open and eat. They'll keep for a month or two in the fridge.

Spicy Dill - add 1/4 t. peppercorns and 1/4 t. red pepper flakes to each jar before adding the hot liquid.