Summer means pickling and canning.
Or it used to for me.
When I lived in the US I made 3 or 4 different kinds of pickles, tomato juice, brandied peaches and cherries and canned lots and lots of tomatoes.
When I lived in the Vendée, with all of our fruit trees, I added jams, jellies and fruit butters to my repertoire and switched to freezing for all the tomatoes and soups.
When we moved here, I had no luck growing the gherkins for pickling. For some reason, the gherkins and cucumbers were bitter. I tried for 2 years and gave up.
No more fruit trees and everything else goes in the freezer.
I retired my burner and canning kettle.
I've been making these pickles forever. Everyone in my family makes them – with variations.
None of us process dill pickles.
I should clarify that. When I lived in the US, and used lids and rings, I didn't process the pickles. Living here, using glass lids and rubber rings, I processed them.
I'm not suggesting you go against the Official Food Police…. But my pickles always sealed and we're living to tell the tale.
Easy Dill Pickles with Garlic
For each quart jar (or in my case, ¾ litre)
- 1 slice onion
- 1 ½ cloves garlic
- 1 head of dill
- 1 tbs pickling or sea salt (do not use Iodized or rock salt)
- 1 tbs sugar
- 1/8 tsp alum
- 4 juniper berries
- ¼ tsp mustard seeds
- 1 tiny, dried, hot red pepper (about ½ inch long)
- ¼ tsp black peppercorns
- 1 small bay (laurel) leaf, broken
- ½ cup white vinegar
- Determine how many jars you need – roughly.
- Wash the jars and put into a 250F (120C) oven for at least 10 minutes or while you do everything else.
- Wash the lids and rings or rubber rings and put into a saucepan of simmer water for 10 minutes or until needed.
- Put a big kettle of water on high heat
- When the water is boiling:
- Scrub the gherkins / pickling cukes and cut any that are large.
- Put onion, garlic and half the dill into the bottom of the jar
- Tightly pack in the pickling cukes.
- Add the salt, sugar, alum and all spices.
- Top with the rest of the dill, making sure that everything is 1/2" below the rim.
- Pour the vinegar over the top.
- Dip a clean paper towel in boiling water (where the lids are) and wipe the rim of the jar.
- Fill with boiling water, put lid and ring / rubber ring on, seal and process, boiling water bath, for 15 minutes.
They're ready to eat in a few weeks, better in a few months.
For something quicker – try Refrigerator Pickles.
They don't require any stove time and are ready in a day.
You can, of course, pickle other vegetables….
Pickled Beets are always a hit.
Last summer I pickled Green Beans – they were good – not wonderful, but good.
We tried them after a day (they're similar to Refrigerator Pickles – ready in a day or two).
They were okay – still with a bit of radish heat.
We tried them a few days later. They tasted…. off.
We tried them a few days after that and they were definitely awful.
I don't know if there was a bad radish that spoiled the jar or if it was just the recipe….
But I'm not sharing the recipe.
We threw them out.
For the curious – this is my canning burner and kettle – set-up near the wine press at our old house: