Thursday, July 9, 2015

Refrigerator Dill Pickles

I have quite a few herbs growing in my backyard planters; herbs such as rosemary, thyme, oregano, mint, and basil.  For the first time I also planted dill. Not only does dill have many culinary uses but the plant is also a favorite of butterflies.  I enjoy having plants that attract butterflies, bees and birds! So with dill you get two benefits in one plant! What a deal for your gardening efforts!
My Grandma used to make bread and butter pickles and I would help her.  I don't remember her making dill pickles but I'm sure she must have, she canned just about everything. A crop of dill growing just leads to thinking about dill pickles so I found an easy recipe and proceeded to make a batch. This recipe calls for refrigeration of the pickles to process them.  As no water bath canning is involved it is very easy, and not time-intensive, to make a batch of these.  They will keep well for several months, as long as they are kept refrigerated.

These pickles are very crisp, with a nice dill flavor, not too tart.  I bought pickling cucumbers at the farmers market but am growing some at home which will go in the next batch. These are a quick and easy-to-make food gift for family and friends!

Refrigerator Dill Pickles

2 quarts water
1 cup white vinegar
1/3 cup pickling salt
3 to 4 pounds pickling cucumbers, washed and sliced into spears or chunks
8-10 large heads of dill
8 medium garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
1 tablespoon mustard seed
4 pinches red pepper flakes
20 black peppercorns

This yield 4 quarts of pickles.  Canning jars aren't necessary but they do need a lid.  Wash in hot soapy water, rinse well, and keep warm until ready to use to avoid cracking when the hot liquid is added.

Add the water, vinegar and salt in a saucepan over high heat. Bring mixture to a full boil and make sure the salt is fully dissolved.

In the bottom of each jar, place 1 large head of dill and 1 garlic clove.

Fill each jar with tightly with cucumbers, leaving an inch of headspace on top.

Top the cucumbers with another clove of garlic, another head of dill.  Add a teaspoon of mustard seed, a pinch of red pepper flake and 5 peppercorns to each jar.

Carefully fill each jar with the boiling water/vinegar salt mixture, making sure to get the cucumbers completely covered. (It is very important that your jars are hot so that the hot mixture won't crack the jar. You can safely assume that I know this for a reason!)

Screw on the lids.  Leave the jars out on the counter for 2 days, then store in the refrigerator at least two weeks before opening them.

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