Remember a couple of weeks ago that I told you I wanted to make dill pickles and was wondering where to find a recipe? Well, I bought cucumbers, Mom came to the rescue with a recipe, and we have been eating those things like there's no tomorrow! There are tons of recipes out there with all sorts of ingredients in them, but Mom gave me a very simple one, guaranteed to please even the most discerning Dill Pickle Palate … the recipe that my sister-in-law's grandmother had given her.
They are so easy to make … it's not even funny how easy it is to make these. Six ingredients, including the cucumbers! When Kim was giving me the recipe by phone (because Mom couldn't find her copy!) she said, "I don't know how many this makes. My grandmother said it makes a quart, but that can't be right because the pickling solution equals a quart and then the cucumbers take up room, too! So, I guess you'll have to experiment."
I had bought ten pounds of cucumbers and this is what they look like, all washed and ready to be sliced.
That is a lot of cucumbers! Slice them and put them in cleaned, sterile quart-size canning jars. I put some in pint-size as well, but the recipe says 'quart' so I'm trying to play by the rules. Kim's grandma probably wouldn't mind either way. She would probably also agree that you can slice them, cut them into spears, or put them in whole … whatever you want. I sliced, though, and got about eight quarts of pickles out of ten pounds.
Add a sprig of fresh dill and a clove of garlic to each jar.
Fill a small pot with water. Add the jar lids, and bring to a boil to sterilize the lids.
Bring 3 cups of water, 1 cup of vinegar, and ¼ cup of coarse salt to a boil. Pour this liquid over the cucumbers.
Take the lids out of the boiling water, and cap the jars.
Turn the jars upside down on a dishtowel and leave them overnight to seal.
My phone rang that night after dinner and it was Kim, saying, "I made pickles tonight too and found out that that amount of liquid will cover 4 quarts of cucumbers." There you go, I had 10 pounds of cucumbers and made nine quarts of pickles so I had made 2 ½ recipes of the pickling solution. I figured that one recipe would cover about five pounds of cucumbers. Nothing is exact, really! They turned a bright green in the boiling liquid and now, they are slightly less bright, but still very pretty! I love preserved fruits and veggies in the jars. They look so nice.
Kim's grandma's recipe also called for alum and I found out that it is supposed to increase the crispiness of the pickle. Since the active ingredient in it IS aluminum, I decided not to use it. I even went to the store to buy it, but on the label had warnings about consuming it so I decided that my pickles would be crispy enough without the alum. And in fact, they are fabulous! We can't stop eating them … we're already on the second jar and I think I should make more before the season is up! I have a hunch that much of the crispiness is retained because this recipe is not hot processed. In my internet perusing prior to making these, I also found warnings about these 'quick pickles' recipes in regards to them not calling for enough vinegar to kill the microorganisms that could potentially grow, etc … you can choose what to believe. My take on it is that this one has lots of vinegar and quite a lot of salt and that for many years, people have been making these recipes and no one has kicked the bucket over them yet. Mom said that she still has some left from when she put them up a couple of years ago and they are still wonderful! So, I'm making more!