Wednesday, September 16, 2009
This year I worked really hard on making my garden thrive, and all my hard work certainly paid off! I had an abundance of zucchini, butternut squash, heirloom tomatoes, carrots, onions, garlic, shallots, corn, pumpkins and...cucumbers! And what to do with all of those cucumbers?! Make pickles! I was really excited to do this because I had ever canned or pickled anything before and was anxious to try.
This recipe, albeit time consuming, was really easy to follow and great for a beginner pickler like myself. I am actually hesitant to post this recipe at present because I have not tried a pickle yet since the recipe says to leave them for 8 weeks before opening. But the season is quickly dwindling so I thought I'd better post this! If they turn out horrible I'll let you know. :)
Another great thing about making homemade pickles (besides using up your mass of cucumbers) is that they make great Christmas gifts. They are inexpensive to make and come from the heart. Your friends and family will love getting a jar of homemade pickles for Christmas this year!
12 pint size mason jars with lids and rings
30-40 cucumbers approx 4-5 inches long
2/3 cup pickling salt
4 cups white vinegar
12 cups water
24 cloves of garlic, peeled and cut in half
approx 60 sprigs of dill weed
Large enamel pot
Large pot filled with water
To prepare cucumbers: Wash thoroughly and cut into spears. Place cucumbers in a large plastic container and cover with water. Refrigerate for at least two hours, but no longer than four.
Boil jars and lids in a large pot for ten minutes to sterilize. (I read elsewhere that the dishwasher is also fine to sterilize jars. So I sterilized my jars in the dishwasher, but used a pot of boiling water for the lids). Place jars on a cookie sheet covered with a thin dish towel. Leave lids in hot water. Put three dill weed springs and two garlic clove halves in bottom of each jar. Pack each jar with cucumbers. Place two dill weed sprigs and two more halves of garlic on top of the cucumbers.
Combine water, vinegar, and salt in an enamel pot. Bring to boil. Ladle boiling brine into each jar. Leave 1/4 inch at top of jar. Gently jiggle jar to release any air bubbles.
To seal jars:
Wipe top of jar with a clean damp cloth. Remove lid from hot water and place on top of each jar. Gently screw on rings. Bring water used for sterilizing back to a boil. Place jars in pan. Water should cover more than half of the jar. Boil for 10 minutes. Remove jars from water and leave them undisturbed for 24 hours. Check to make sure jars are sealed properly and store for up to two years. Pickles can be eaten after eight weeks.