Saturday, July 02, 2011
Cold Water Dill Pickles
All it takes per gallon of pickles is:
8 cups of cold water
2 cups of cider vinegar
3/4 cups kosher or pickling salt
1 tsp alum
1tsp cream of tartar
4 large sprigs of dill heads(flowers)
This will make enough brine for a gallon jar of pickles. As you can see I had two nice 1 gallon pickle jars rescued from somewhere so I had to make two batches of brine. Make up the brine using the water, salt and vinegar making sure all the salt is dissolved. Wash, but don't soak the cukes and pack in the jars with two heads of dill on the bottom and two heads on top. Put the dill and alum in the jars and fill the jars to cover the cukes. Cover loosely and leave at room temperature for 6 or 7 days. You can then refrigerate and keep them for several months or longer. The pickles work in the jar and there is no rinsing or anything else required. Feel free to add garlic or hot peppers or any other herbs or seasoning you like. Just don't alter the vinegar, salt, water mixture and don't leave out the alum and cream of tartar. This is an old fashioned way of pickling. If you don't have gallon jars you can use any 1gallon non reactive container. That means no aluminum. I could have just as easily used a pickle crock. If your cukes are small enough you can easily do this in quart jars as well. You also don't have to put them in the fridge but they will continue to ferment and won't last as long.
Even if you don't have a garden, this time of year pickling cucumbers should be in the farmer's markets as is fresh dill so you can still give making good old fashioned pickles a try.
You should also remember that pickling was just another method our ancestors had of making the garden last beyond the summer season. Cucumbers seem to come all at once in the garden and they would go to waste without a good way of preserving them. It doesn't hurt that they taste pretty good as well. Now I just have to wait a week.