Monday, November 11, 2013

HOMEMADE DILL PICKLES........ family loves pickles, and  it's been too many years since I have made a batch.  Growing up Mom always had homemade Pickles in the cellar so that when we had a craving for them, all we had to do was run down to the cellar and pick a jar.  YUM!!
Making Pickles brings back so many memories of 'growing up' my parents had such beautiful vegetable gardens which were always full of cucumbers.  Long ones, round ones and of course pickling cucumbers.....I remember walking out to the back yard and into the garden and being able to pick a cucumber (or two or three) still warm from the sun.  So fresh and fortunate we were.  I now know how fortunate we were as I have started a vegetable garden ( on a much smaller scale) than my parents had.  It is a lot of work but oh so very rewarding when you can just walk out of your home and into your garden and pick that cucumber.
 The cucumbers I used did not come from my own garden but from a garden in Surrey called 'God's Little Acre'.... you will find the story/history here:  Thank you to this farm and the good work it does......  thank you also to a friend who picked up my cucumbers from the farm and brought them here to Gibsons. The cucumbers were perfect, so fresh and crisp and ready to be made into Pickles, just like Mom used to make. Every summer we drove from Prince Rupert with our children to (Ootischenia - a little community just outside of Castlegar) to visit my parents and extended family during the garden growing season.  My Mom would save  the cucumbers for picking just so my children could  pick their very own fresh cucumber from the vine..  She would also ask my children - they were young, perhaps 4, 5 and 8, to help her make pickles....what a great lesson for my children to learn....while making these pickles 'Baba'/Grandma' would tell them stories from her childhood,  and they would fill those quart jars as quickly as she would fill their hearts with memories.  Our family would then  pack up a few jars of pickles to take back home with us to eat in the winter months and relive the memories of summer.  It's not just the 'making of pickles' but the 'going home' that makes this job so wonderful......enjoy.
  Ingredients you will need.

The cucumbers washed and drained.

Garlic, beets and carrots all sliced and ready for the jars.
Fresh dill to be added to the jars
Dill, sliced beets, garlic cloves get dropped into the bottom of the jar
The whole cucumbers are stacked for maximum filled
jars, then carrot sticks are slid in between the cucumbers.
 Cucumbers, beets, garlic, dill and carrots filling up
the quart jars until all the cucumbers are used up.
The stuffed jars are then filled with hot brine, topped with sterilized seals and rings.
Put into a canner and boiled just until the cucumbers change from the deep green colour
to the pale green then are quickly removed and put on a rug or blanket for cooling.
The hot jars are flipped onto their lids to keep the lid hot as long as possible,
   to help with the sealing process. (this is a tip from Mom)  Cover with a blanket or rug.
 Let the jars cool before storing and then wait (if you can) about a week before eating.
 The finished Pickles, beautiful....some are green, others are a lovely
purple (because of the added beet slices) our favorite.  Standing in behind
is another pickle mix (sweet & sour),  I will post  this recipe at a later time.
DILL PICKLES...the recipe
pickling cucumbers (approximately 10-15 lbs)
dill, a large bunch
4-6 carrots, sliced into sticks
4-6 beets, sliced thinly into either half circles or sticks
10 heads garlic (approximate)
2-3 dozen Quart jars, lids, screw tops
 Canner or large pot for processing
20 cups water
1 - 2 cups vinegar
5 Tablespoons pickling salt
In to a large pot, add the water, vinegar and salt. Bring to a boil - boil for 1 minute.
Take off stove and set aside.
Into a sterile quart jar, add 3 cloves garlic, bunch of dill and a few slices of beets
top with pickling cucumbers, fill bottom layer slip a few slices of carrots in between the cucumber then top with more cucumbers, not going higher than the neck of the jar.
With a glass measuring cup pour hot brine over cucumbers/carrots/beets/garlic in the quart jar,
wipe edge and seal with lid and screw top.
(seals should be heated and sterilized by putting them into a bowl and pouring boiling water over them, let them sit in this until you are ready to seal the jar.)
Wipe seal/lid with clean towel, place over filled jar and screw on tightly.
When all jars are done, place into canner, fill with cool water to the bottom of the 'neck' of the jar  (below the ring) and cover with canner lid, bring to a boil and watch carefully - boil just until the colour of the cucumbers  start to change from deep green to a pale green.  Don't worry if all cucumbers in the jar are not the same pale colour.  They will continue to cook while cooling and will make a perfectly 'crisp' pickle.  Remove from canner and place upside down onto a blanket or rug, cover with another blanket and let sit until cool.  Store in a cool dark spot, wait at least a week before sampling.  If you find a jar or two have not sealed, just store them in the fridge until ready to eat....
 'Not everyone will understand your journey.   That's fine. 
It's not their journey to make sense of.  
It's yours.'

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