For The Love Of Dill - So Many Recipes, So Little Time... Blog at - 118248

So Many Recipes, So Little Time...

For the Love of Dill 
Aug. 12, 2009 8:02 am 
Updated: Aug. 12, 2009 9:46 pm
      Darn cucumbers. They've taken over part of my garden. There were only 6 plants. Six plants can't possibly grow that many cucumbers, right? WRONG! Do not ignore them, friends, for they are a force to be reckoned with! What to do with them, you ask?

       Why PICKLES, of course - DILL PICKLES! I've already tried my hand at the bread and butter variety, but I'm a sucker for a nice, tart, garlicky dill pickle spear. Serve one up next to just about any type of sandwich and I'm happy. This pickle thing is new to me, I'll admit. I chose to use the cold pack method with the dills for CRUNCHIER pickles. After a bit of research, I chose an old fashioned method to help seal the jars, but you'll hear about that later. Please... read on...

I found myself wanting to make dill pickles, but the dill I lovingly grew bit the dust during a rather nasty storm. Since I live in Amish country, it wasn't difficult to locate some fresh dill, which was carefully cut, stalks and all, by the most adorable little Amish girl. This I stuck in a vase of water until the pickles were ready to process.

Can't you almost smell it?

Next, I let my cucumbers soak in an ice water bath for about 8 hours. I know the recipe says to use the kitchen sink, but I opted for a clear plastic sweater box on the kitchen counter. (Put a towel under it - it will sweat!) I have these just lying around in my basement, waiting to be used for something. This is supposed to help the finished pickles to be crunchy.

It's important to keep adding ice, removing water if you have to to make room.

Next, we need some garlic. I love garlic!

This is the freshest I've ever seen. I bought it from the same little Amish cutie who sold me the dill.

Peel it....

and chop each clove in half. Certainly you can smell THAT, right?

Next I prepped the other ingredients. After reading the recipe reviews, I decided to add some spice to the mix, about 1/8 tsp of each. I measured them into prep dishes - one for each jar.

Next we have our white vinegar. Don't mind the Smurf - he's just a ham.

I won't show you the water - it LOOKS just like the vinegar... :) Next we have pickling salt. I changed the # servings, so I only used 1/2 cup.

In it goes and turn on the heat. It needs to be at a full boil when the pickles are packed.

Next we need to sterilize the jars
(make sure they are submerged in boiling water)...

and the lids.

You'll need one of these to get the jars out. You can use tongs, but I don't recommend it.

While the jars were sterilizing, I sliced most of the cukes into spears. I know the author of the recipe likes whole pickles. I did leave some of the smaller ones whole. But frankly, I had a lot better luck packing the spears than the whole ones!

When the brine is boiling, dill heads, dill sprigs, cucumbers, and garlic are packed into the hot jars.

The spices are poured in, more dill and garlic are added, and brine is added almost to the top.

Next, wipe off the jar rims. This is extremely important. Any residue on the rim can prevent the jar from sealing.

Next a hot lid goes on. I use my wooden toast tongs to take them out of the water to avoid scratching the lids. Never reuse canning lids. The rings can be reused indefinitely, though.

After the lid goes on, secure it tightly with a ring.

My next step, instead of cooking the jars in a water bath, was to turn the jars upside down in about an inch or so of boiling water for about 5 minutes. This helped them seal without cooking the pickles. I know, it sounds weird, but absolutely every jar sealed!

This jar is my overflow. I had enough leftovers for a pint of plain dills. I didn't add the spices to these. I'll compare later. MUCH later...

All packed into the jars. Now the waiting begins.

Eight long weeks of waiting...
and waiting...
and waiting.

October seems like such a long time away!

Thanks for dropping by!
Photo Detail
Aug. 12, 2009 8:08 am
They look beautiful and delish. I almost think I could do it. Thanks for a great blog. Mag
Aug. 12, 2009 8:08 am
Beautiful pictures. You really do make it look easy. Not sure what's up with my 6 cucumber plants but so far I've only gotten 3 cucumbers out of them. Any thoughts?
Aug. 12, 2009 8:21 am
Great pics and very well-written!!! You make it look so easy - I can't wait to try. So far, I've only picked one perfect dill pickle sized cucumber! Hopefully more will follow soon! Thank you so much for sharing!!
Aug. 12, 2009 8:22 am
Great job showing the process. Now I am hungry for those pickles...
Aug. 12, 2009 10:14 am
Wonderful job of showing the process! Now, have you figured out how to give each of us some sample tastes?
Aug. 12, 2009 10:32 am
Wow, what a great blog!! Thanks for posting it!!
Aug. 12, 2009 11:38 am
Fun blog! I have a GOB of dill in my garden but no cukes ready yet. Your comment about the dill picture got my butt out to my garden!! I picked a bunch and have them on my table in a Mason jar just for the way it makes the house smell.. :) Happy canning.
Aug. 12, 2009 1:10 pm
Pam, I've made pickles every year for the last several and my recipe is not that far off of yours. I do however add dried hot peppers to mine because we all like the heat that they have. Last year with my leftover not-quite-enough-for another few full jars, I made relish and it was fabulous! Just chopped the pickles coarsely, added, carrot, onion, celery, very fine mixed together and proceeded like the others. You might want to try that if you have some left over. Also, Thanksgiving is always the official "crack into the pickles day" in our home. And yes, that is a LONNNNGGGG time from now. I'll be doing mine soon.
Aug. 12, 2009 1:24 pm
Pam take a look at this link for you peppers... I am picking peppers next week and am going to make this. I normally just pickle them but I want to try these this year. :)
Aug. 12, 2009 2:00 pm
Thanks everyone! Rachel, that looks great - I'd like those, but I need just plain pickled peppers for my dad. He's a creature of habit. LOL
Aug. 12, 2009 4:29 pm
i too got a TON of cucumbers this year. i think the reason is my husband put grass clipping in the garden right after he tilled the ground. at first i was alittle perturbed because i wanted to wait and plant the plants first. i had to dig through the grass clippings to make a hole to put my plants in. i think this bed of grass kept my plants from touching the dirt (we had alot of rain) and yet kept them from drying out at the same time. i make a pickle pretty similar but i do not seal just screw top but mine need to be refrigerated.
Aug. 12, 2009 9:46 pm
Brings back memories of the year I prayed for an early maybe a mid-August one. Yup. Those cucumbers just kept on bearing.
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About Me
I have three teenage sons who are picky eaters (especially the middle one). I try to cook things that they might enjoy trying, but they're not always willing to try new things. My husband started out a picky eater when we met back in 1986, but he's gotten much better and is willing to try ALMOST anything I make. In my spare time I teach second grade. I have introduced my students to cooking and/or new foods over the years.
My favorite things to cook
I love to try all sorts of new recipes, so I don't really have a favorite thing to cook. I enjoy using fresh ingredients from the garden and canning those ingredients to use year-round. I also enjoy baking treats for my second grade class. I'll try almost anything if I think my family will eat it. Of course, I've been known to try a recipe because I want to, whether they'll eat it or not.
My favorite family cooking traditions
I love making the pumpkin pies and other desserts for Thanksgiving. I always like to try one new dessert for each holiday. Baking Christmas cookies is a tradition that goes back as long as I can remember.
My cooking triumphs
I've made some pretty cool cakes for my boys' birthdays. They include a firetruck, baseball, football, and Pokeball. I've also used shaped pans to decorate everything from Barney and Elmo, Power Ranger, Jeff Gordon's #24 racecar, football helmet, a dog and dog house, a monkey, a giant cupcake, and a penguin. Some recent cakes have been a pizza, chef's hat, and Topsy-Turvy (Mad Hatter Cake.) The last one didn't collapse - that was a real triumph! One of my best triumphs has been teaching my boys to cook. They'll never go hungry.
My cooking tragedies
The first time I cooked a turkey I relied on my thermometer to tell when it was done. It wasn't.
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