Welcome to the August edition of The Recipe Box Swap! This month's recipes are all Garden Fresh! If you can pick it from the garden, buy it at the farmer's market or get it from the produce section of the grocery store, tell us how to prepare it! All you need to do it post your recipe on your blog and add your post URL to the auto-link below.
My plan was to give you my recipe for dill pickles (and I still will!), but my pickle-making day was foiled yesterday when the farmer's market was out of the cucumbers I needed. I have to wait 2-3 more weeks to actually make them, so no preparation pictures are included this post, although I have a picture of last year's pickles at the bottom of the post.
I can guarantee that this recipe will be one of the best you have tried (I can say that the recipe was given to me by a friend!) and you will also find it quite do-able if you have never attempted pickling. I do not water bath my jars, because I find that they stay crispy if I simply refrigerate them. The texture turns out more like a Claussen rather than a Vlasic, and mine taste better than either brand.
Here are my lonely pickle-less jars:
1/2 of a bushel of pickling cucumbers (this makes about 21 quarts)
1-2 garlic cloves per jar
1 dill cluster per jar (or 1 tsp. of dill seed)
1 anaheim chili per jar
1 grape leaf per jar (or 1/2 tsp. alum--for crispness)
4 cups cider vinegar
12 cups water
1 cup canning salt
You will need 21 cleaned and sterilized quart jars, lids and rings.
Wash your cucumbers in cold water (I put mine in the kitchen sink to soak for a few minutes and then I drain out the water). Place all of the PER JAR ingredients in the jars. Pack each jar tightly with cucumbers (you can add them to the jars whole or sliced), leaving about 3/4 inch headspace (that is the space between the food and the top of the jar).
Bring your brine ingredients to a boil and ladle the brine into the jars. Place your lids on the jars and twist on your rings. If you want to seal the jars, you will need to place these in a water bath for 30 minutes.
Place the jars in the refrigerator once they have cooled (you can leave them on a shelf in the cupboard if they have been sealed) and let them sit there for about 2 months. Yes, you seriously have to wait 2 months to eat these, but it is worth the wait!
If the recipe is too big for your family, do this with a friend and split the jars between you. I do this with a friend every year (we both make one full recipe, though) and it makes the work easy and fun. Your house will smell like pickles for a day or two, so plan on opening the windows and letting in the fresh air!
Here is a picture of last year's pickles:
I am sure this year's pickles will look the same!