Sunday, August 9, 2015

Dill Pickles

My husband LOVES pickles. Specifically, dill pickles. This year from our garden I was able to make 15 quarts and 1 pint of dill pickles. (Okay, if you count them in the picture, you'll see we're one quart short... that one is in the fridge being eaten. ;) )

Dill Pickles
Cucumbers (sliced lengthwise for spears or across for slices for sandwiches & burgers)
Dill (1 head per jar)
Onions, quartered (1 quarter per jar)
Fresh Garlic (1 toe per jar)
Peppers (hot or sweet optional)
Pickle Crisp (1/4 teaspoon per quart or 1/8 teaspoon per pint)

For the brine (makes about 5 quarts):
1 quart water
3/4 cup sugar
3 cups white vinegar (5% acidity)
1/4 cup canning salt

Prepare the brine in a pot and bring to a simmer. Prep your jars in your water bath canner by sterilizing for 10 minutes in boiling water. Add pickle crisp to sterilized jar and layer in dill, onion, garlic, peppers, and cucumbers. Add the brine leaving 1/2 inch head space. Wipe the lip of you jar clean with a damp cloth to be sure nothing will prevent the jar from making a good seal, put on lid and ring, then return to the water bath canner. Once all jars have been returned to the canner, bring the water to a boil and process for 15 minutes, then remove to cool and seal (the *ping!* sound you hear... Love that sound!). Allow to sit for at least 2 weeks, but over a month is better, for the flavors to really be infused into the pickles.

This recipe is well suited to a refrigerator pickle as well. Just combine all your above ingredients in a large container, I used an ice cream pail, and store in your refrigerator once it has cooled down. You will still need to wait at least 2 weeks for the flavors to develop. When making multiple batches be sure to mark the date you made each batch so you know when each is ready. Refrigerator pickles are a great way to make a home 'canned' pickle without the investment in canning supplies which can lower the initial canning investment significantly. These pickles can be bottled up in recycled jars and kept in the refrigerator or given as a hostess gift during the holidays. In this batch I added lots of red ripe jalapenos and plenty of onions which are great on those burgers or sandwiches. I also added some small yellow summer squash which is a great addition to those refrigerator pickles.

This year I spent about $7.31 for 15 quarts and 1 pint of pickles. To buy that equivalent in the store would be about $40. That means I saved over $32 on pickles.

Here's the break down of approximately what I spent on each item. 
Sugar $1.49
Vinegar $1.78
Canning Salt $1.18
Garlic $1.95
Pickle Crisp $0.96
Cucumbers Free from the garden
Dill Free from mom's garden (mine didn't grow so well this year)
Onions Free from the garden
Peppers (I used banana) Free from the garden

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