Thursday, August 4, 2011

Dill Pickle Recipe Tweak 1

On Tuesday, I worked on tweaking my dill pickle recipe. I got out a jar of my favorite dill slices and worked on getting my recipe's vinegar and salt content as close to the bought pickle juice as I could. It took 3 tries and nearly choking Max on it as a taste helper before getting it as close as we could. Additionally, I didn't want dill spice in the jars, so I steeped the dill seed in the vinegar solution and strained them out prior to using the solution.

 I'll taste test them in a week and see what the conclusion is about this tweak. I'm pretty confident of it, which is why I am posting the recipe. I do know that pickling slices takes a lot of time. Whew. I have a mandolin, but it's almost more trouble than it's worth - getting out, setting blade, test, reset blade, avoiding cutting a finger off, and cleaning up. Facing that, I just sharpen the knife and start slicing. Maybe finding the perfect setting on the mandolin should be a test for another time.

Here's a picture of the finished slices and following that is my tweaked 1 recipe.

Dill Pickles with Garlic
All slices except for 1 lone jar of whole cucumbers.
Ain't they pretty!

Dill Pickle Recipe - Tweak 1*

4 lbs pickling cucumbers 
1/4 cup dill seed
24 whole peppercorns (or enough for 3-4 per jar)
1 1/4 cup vinegar 5%
6 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup canning/pickling salt
2 tblsp sugar (edited 8/14/11 to add this forgotten ingredient)

Garlic optional - 2-4 cloves per jar

Mix water, vinegar and salt. Stir until salt is dissolved. (If you don't want to steep, you can just add 1 tsp dill seeds to each jar. Additionally you can optionally add 1/4 tsp dill seed, 1/4 tsp dill week, 1/4 tsp mustard seed, and or 1/4 tsp celery seed.)
Add dill seed and bring to boil. Remove from heat, cover and let sit for 15 minutes.
Bring to boil again, remove from heat, cover and let sit for 15 minutes.
Bring to boil again, remove from heat, cover and let sit for 30 minutes. (This may seem roundabout, but it's the way I achieved the taste I wanted.)

Before beginning slicing cucumbers, put your canning jars in the canner, fill with water and set on stove to boil while you're slicing the cukes. Boil jars at rolling boil for at least 10 minutes. Put lids and rings in pan, cover with water and bring to a boil. At boil, immediately turn off heat under lids.

After getting the jars set to boil, wash and slice cucumbers. I slice small pickling cucumbers on the diagonal to increase their size. As you slice each cuke, put the slices in a bowl of ice water.

After vinegar solution has steeped with dill seeds, pour the solution through a sieve to strain out the seeds. Return the solution to the pan and return to heat.

Drain the cucumbers in a colander. Set up your filling area, I set a bowl on a towel on the counter next to the stove. I set each hot jar in the bowl and fill there. It contains the inevitable spills. The vinegar solution is on a burner directly to the left of this. The jars are on the stove on the other front burner to the left of this, with the burner on medium. The garlic and peppercorns are behind the filling bowl. The cukes are in a colander set in another bowl to the right of the filling bowl. The lids and rings are in a pot on a  pot trivet to the right of the cucumbers.

Fill hot jars one at a time. Put 3-4 cloves of garlic in bottom of jar if desired. Add 3-4 whole peppercorns. Pack jars with cucumber slices to within 1/2 inch of top. Fill with simmering vinegar solution, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe jar rims with a clean cloth or paper towel. Cap with lid and screw on canning ring. Return to canner as finished.

When canner is filled, lower jars into the canner, cover and turn heat to high. Bring to a boil. I process half pints 3 minutes from canner returning to a boil. The recipe recommends processing pints 10 minutes. I only process pints 5 minutes. My cousin doesn't process at all, counting on the boiling liquid to make the seal, and the vinegar and salt to cure.

After processing time elapses, remove the jars from the canner and place on a towel on a counter or table. Let sit overnight or until cool through. Reprocess any jar that hasn't sealed or put in refrigerator and eat as you would normal pickles. They last for months in the fridge. When cool, I remove the rings, wipe lids and jars, rinse and dry rings, write date and what it is on jar lids and store the jars. 

Makes about 13 half-pints of slices.

*Because I am tweaking these recipes to my own tastes, any reader using them does so at their own risk. I post them here to keep on-hand for myself. I am not a food scientist, and have no qualifications to determine food safety issues. I have no chemical education to determine proper ratios for food preservation. As usual, before using, check each jar's seal and for discoloration or spoilage. If there is anything at all about any jar that makes you feel uneasy, throw the darned food away. If the seal is broken, definitely do NOT use it. If the lid is bulging or the food off-color, do not consume it.


Debbi said...

Gorgeous! Wouldn't ya know it, I came home with a good 4 lbs. of pickling cukes today.

BTW- Your hair and coloring is *awesome*. Nice to find someone good.

Jola Gayle said...

Hey, cool. Lemme know what you did with them.

You gotta let us know about your Spokane Market trip.

Thank you. I agree.