Friday, May 23, 2008

Pickles 101

We made pickles today and I thought I'd show you how simple it is to make your own! This is the easiest and fastest way to get pickles, no canning involved with this method, and you can start enjoying them in about three days!
Here's what you need:
A buttload of cukes, white vinegar, a couple of bulbs of garlic and Ball's Kosher Dill Pickle mix.

Combine your pickle mix with water and vinegar as per package instructions into a large enameled pot (If the vinegar comes in contact with metal it will make your brine cloudy. They won't taste any different, just will look cloudy!)

While your brine is heating on the stove, slice your cukes. We prefer slices as opposed to spears around here, so that's what we did. Heat your brine to just before the boiling point. The package says to boil, but I never do that because it makes your pickles mushy by cooking them. You'll have a nice crisp pickle if you do it my way!
When all your cukes are sliced (or speared!) pour the hot liquid over them and set aside.

While the pickles slices are cooling, peel the cloves off of 2-3 bulbs of garlic. You can easily peel them if you whack them with the back of a wooden spoon!

Do NOT skimp on the garlic! It's what makes these soooo goood! When your liquid has cooled enough for you to handle the slices (about 30 minutes) pack them into clean jars. I just run jars and lids through the dishwasher's "sanitize" cycle.

Put several garlic cloves into the bottom of each jar then pack, and I mean PACK, your slices into the jars. When the jars are full then laddle in your brine to 1/4 shy of the rim. Wipe your rims with a paper towel and screw on the lids. THAT'S IT!

Let them sit out on the counter until they reach room temperature. You'll hear the lids "click" when they seal then put them right into the fridge. You can store them in the fridge for up to three months...but they never last that long around here!

If you want them to last longer you'll have to "can" them. You'll need to sterilize your jars and lids in boiling water. You'll also need to put your finished jars into a boiling water bath for five to seven minutes. They'll last a year that way!

Sonya, you've been asking about these since last summer, so I'm putting about four jars under lock and key and will bring them to you at Cassandra & Sal's shower!

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