I’ve had grape jelly on my canning list for a couple of weeks now. But I can make jelly anytime – the juice is already canned, just waiting for the next step. Pickles on the other hand, they pick the day! I’ve been keeping a close eye on the cucumbers in the garden and Friday night they said “Tomorrow’s the day!”. Kind of them to pick a day when I would be home, with time for such projects.
I’m very glad to see pickle season as we ran out of our favorite pickles a few months ago. Last year I tried a new recipe for spiced pickles and unfortunately, we didn’t like them. So about half of our pickles went to that recipe and are still sitting on the shelf. I’m going to have to give them away.
This is the recipe I came up with for today’s pickles:
We shall see how they turn out. I have heard the vinegar to water ratio should be 1:1, and most of the recipes I looked at called for sugar. Sugar in dill pickles? I don’t want anything to do with a sweet pickle and the Ball Blue Book said I could omit the sugar so I did.
You might notice I put the recipe right at the top of my posts. When I am searching for a recipe, I’m usually in the kitchen trying to cook and just want to compare recipes so I can decide what to do. I get so frustrated having to scroll to the bottom of a blog post to get the recipe. Also, I search for most of my recipes on Pintrest. But I always have to open the pin and click over to the website. It is so much easier if the recipe is just on the pin itself. So this is how I will attempt to present the basic recipe of anything I post.
First step was a trip to the garden to pick the first crop of cucumbers. I didn’t get out there early enough in the year to put up trellises for the cucs so they are a bit messy this year and a lot harder to find the little green treasures. These pickling cucs are prickly littler buggers too! We picked a variety of sizes, anything as big as my thumb or bigger.
My dear husband kindly cleaned up the kitchen for me while I got the canning supplies around, and decided on a recipe. With all the jars lined up, and the water bath getting hot on the stove, it was time to begin.
I chopped up all the cucumbers and set them aside in a big bowl. I like to leave the tiny ones whole for snacking, then I make sandwich slices out of the straighter med/big sizes. I make chips with the twisted ones.
Someone gave me a jar of “medium spicy dill pickles” last year. I love the extra bite from the spice so I did some reading and concluded to add a pinch of red pepper flakes to a few jars to see if that would do the trick. I also increased my garlic from one clove to two. I was running surprisingly low on garlic though so I only put garlic in about 6 jars. Jonathan said he wanted just plain and simple dill pickles, so we have about 8 jars with just brine and dill.
I almost sent Jonathan to the store for more garlic while I was prepping this batch. He reminded me we would be making several more batches of pickles so we probably didn’t need to go to the store for this batch. He was right and I was so glad he reminded me! I get tired of always running to the store for things. I want to learn more and more to just go without, come up with homemade solutions or substitutes. I am getting better about it, but I was thankful this time for Jonathan coming up with the solution. One day we hope to live far enough from town that going to the store for one ingredient won’t be an option. If that’s going to work, I need to incorporate that mentality now. Besides, it saves a lot of money to restrict yourself to weekly or evenly monthly shopping trips. It takes practice, as well as sacrifice at times.
Pictured above we have all the ingredients used in this batch. We ended up with 14 beautiful pints of pickles. Homegrown cucs, garlic, and red pepper. Normally I would have grown the dill as well but mine didn’t come up this year. So I had to buy the dill, salt, and vinegar.
The finished product: