Thursday, August 14, 2014

Blue-Ribbon Amish Dill Pickles

I sprung upon a hot streak of luck yesterday and found a bunch of fresh heads of dill.
Admittedly, it can be tricky to come by.

I was at a local farm stand buying beans. They didn't have any dill out, so I asked the girl in the bonnet and she said nope, there was none. But, she thought the lady who owns the stand might know where I could get some.

Sure enough, she grabbed her scissors and walked behind her house!!!!!!

Moral of the story: Lots of people have dill, you just have to find them. And ask.

All of that to say, this will be my day today.

I'll be pickling.

We canned 12 quarts of these pickles last year and I wish I'd have had double.
These pickles - they will blow your boots off. People have tried to STEAL my pickles before, and that's no laughing matter. But it does underscore the insane addictibility and deliciousness of these delicious dills.

Are you nervous about canning pickles? Don't be.
It's super easy because you don't even need a canner. Since the acidity is high (love you so much, vinegar!) all you need is a nice, tall stock pot.

The jars, seals, and rings can be found this time of year at almost any grocery store.
Then grab a jug of ordinary, white vinegar and box of kosher salt and voila, you're practically Ma Ingalls, only with electricity and less sparkly eyes, but whatever.

You can't have too many jars of these sitting around. Impossible!
Or, blow your people away and gift them with a ribbon-tied jar of summertime for Christmas. You'll be everyone's favorite in all the land.

I adapted this Amish recipe over the past couple years and it's my hands-down favorite for life. 

Here's how you do it:

Scrub and slice your pickling cucumbers. (These can be found at farm stands and even grocery stores this time of year, or maybe even in your yard if your yard doesn't conspire to kill everything except clover.)

Put one peeled garlic clove on bottom of your clean jar, followed by a layer of pickles, a head of fresh dill*, more pickles & another garlic clove on top. Fill up to the neck of the jar.

(I try to really pack the cucumbers in, since they'll shrink down a bit as they cook.)

Combine 2 c. vinegar, 2.5 c. sugar, 2 c. water, 2 tsp salt. Bring all ingredients to boil until everything is dissolved. Pour over pickle in your jars.

***UPDATE*** This recipe yields a delicious, sweet-dill pickle. If you like less sweetness, cut the sugar back by a cup. (The original recipe is by no means a straight sweet pickle, but definitely a sweeter dill.) I love them both ways!

Wipe the rims of your jars then place a seal and ring over the mouths.

Add your jars to your stock pot with the water at *room temperature* (if the water is too hot, it can crack your jars) (UPDATE: Please see Carol's comment at the bottom of this post!) making sure the tops of the jars are covered with water.

Turn heat to high and watch closely. As soon as it begins to boil, start a timer for 15 minutes then remove the jars immediately with a jar lifter and place to cool on a towel on your counter.  (Don't overcook because you want these pickles to stay nice and crunchy.)

Some jars will come out of the water sealed, others you'll hear "popping" later. If you have any that don't seal for some reason (most will, but last time I had one that didn't) pop it in the fridge and eat those pickles! They're delicious and safe, just not shelf-stable.

This recipe makes 4 quart jars.

You're going to die for these pickles, guaranteed.
You'll also feel like some kind of rad earth-mama, storing up deliciousness for the winter.

Happy canning, homies!

*(In a pinch, I'm sure stems of fresh dill from the produce section would work just fine.)

PS - Even easier and just as fantastic and crime-inducing? These no-cook refrigerator pickles. YUM! (I always make some of both.)

*Amazon affiliate link used.