Friday, September 21, 2012


It all started when I had the thought, "Next year I should plant cucumbers and make dill pickles."  Sounds innocent enough, right?  We try to plant one new thing every year so that we can grow our garden and food storage gradually, and why not pickles?!  My grandma always makes really yummy dill pickles, and frankly I was tired of store bought.  That's when we come to mistakes #1 and #2 - I went to the garden store and bought 4 pickling cucumber plants.  So things seemed to be going great, and apparently cucumbers love our garden because they're growing like crazy.  We're thinking - great!  Cucumber salads, sandwiches, we can put cucumbers in everything once we get our pickles done.  Little did we know, pickling cucumbers are not meant to be eaten raw.  Ever.  They are totally disgusting unless drowned in vinegar and salt.  So, what do we do with the piles of unedible cucumbers?  Not to be wasteful, we make more pickles.  14 quarts of dill pickles later, we still have them coming.  So, when we make these again (which will not be for a couple years I think), we will plant maybe 2 regular cucumber plants.  I learned after the fact that's what my grandma uses anyway - oh well.  On the positive side, if you are ever pregnant during a food shortage, you will know where to come to fill your pickle craving!  So here's my grandma's recipe for dill pickles.  Enjoy!

Grandma's Dill Pickles
 Wash cucumbers and soak in ice water for 1 hour.  In the bottom of each quart jar, put 1 clove of garlic, 1 bay leaf, 1/2 t. alum, 1 large dill head or 1 1/2 t. dill seed.  Pack quart jars with cucumbers - you can put them in whole, sliced, or speared, however you like them.  Make a brine with 1 quart of vinegar, 3 quarts of water, and 1 cup of salt.  This is enough for 6 quarts of whole dill pickles, slices and spears will take less.  Bring the brine to a boil, and pour over pickles.  Seal jars, and process in a water bath canner for 15 minutes.  (Now comes the really hard part:)  Wait 6 weeks before enjoying.  

Resources: Complete Guide to Home Canning and Preserving (our go-to book for canning)
Skills required: water bath canning

Approximate time to make*: 2 hours start to finish for a 7 quart batch

Approximate cost for supplies*:
ours worked out to be about 50 cents a jar
*Please remember that these are just approximations. CopyCrafts makes no guarantee of their accuracy.

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