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Friday, September 25, 2009

Better late than never,the pickles are pickling.

I know most of you have most likely made your pickles for the year but after being blown off course I finally got around to it. Chance and I made them this past Sunday, a very pleasant way to spend the afternoon.We even had drop in company while we were working and it was fun to chat with our friend while we worked.Our friend was impressed on how well Chance and I dance around the kitchen together.
We used my Grandmothers Kosher Dill recipe.Now this kind of cracks me up,my Grandmother was Norwegian and Cherokee and lived on the North Dakota prairies most of her life,no where close to being a Jewish lady making kosher food for her family. But her pickles are awesome.So awesome that when Issac saw the jars setting on the counter he was not happy he had to wait a minimum of 6 weeks before we can crack open the first jar.
The whole process is simple and goes really quickly.Along the way we learned something new.My Grandmother's recipe simply states "1 scant cup salt" Ah Grandma? Which kind? There's a whole world of salts out on the market these days. Chance did some reading and this is what he found after posing the question of "What makes the different kinds of salts different from each other." The only differences in all of the salts out there is the mineral content and the size of the grains. We also learned it dose not really matter what kind of salt you use to make pickles but if you do not use pickling salt the pickles won't be as pretty to look at.The pickling salt has no iodine unlike the other salts. The iodine causes darkening in foods hence the not so pretty pickles when you use other salts that contain iodine.
We ended up using our box of Kosher salt that dose not have iodine in it.Partly because I did not pay attention to which box I reached for and partly I was following Grandma's recipe verbatim, it just said Salt.
I will say now we had a 25 pound bag of pickling cucs which took 3 batches of the brine.We had 1 jar of sliced pickles and 2 of spears because some of the cucs were to large to fit the jars. That left us with 17 jars of whole cucs to pickle.Almost 2 jars per month and since we won't open them for 6 weeks we should have pickles until we make next years.Whoopie maybe I did the math right for once and we won't be without.
Here is the recipe:

Grandma Linn's Kosher Dills

3 Quarts water (that's 2 pints or 4 cups)
Using distilled water gives a crisp pickle but I use tap water and they are just fine.
1 Quart vinegar ( we use apple cider)
1 scant cup pickling salt
Bring the above to a boil in a large non reactive pot.

In each wide mouthed quart jar put:

1/4 teaspoon Alum
1/2 teaspoon mustard seed
1 clove garlic (use more if you like garlic or if the cloves are small)
1 head dill
1 whole dried red chili pepper

Pack the cucumbers in tightly but do not go over the bottom line of the mouth of the jar.(Where you usually stop filling when canning.) You should be able to get close to 10 cucs in each jar.
Now pour the hot brine over the cuc's to the usual fill line of the jar.
Process for 15 minutes.Wait a minimum of 6 weeks before you open a jar.The longer you can wait the better the pickles will be.The jars we did last year were out of this world good by April but who wants to wait that long for the first taste?

Everything else is fine here.We are all getting used to me working full time and so far so good.My next day off I need to spend some time in the garden looking things over.I just can not believe it is almost October.Where has the year gone?

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