It’s true. I used to hate the taste of pickles. Why? Not entirely sure. There have been several foods I “hated” only to find out that I never really had a great taste of it to begin with, one of which being pickles. Or that my tastes changed later in life.
My first “seeing the light” moment with pickles was at Maurizio’s Pizza, a small family-owned restaurant that I worked at for a few years during college.
This is what happens when you’re a starving college student that works at a pizza joint. You experiment with your food. If you’re going to eat pizza every day for dinner it might as well be CREATIVE.
Ever since then I’ve longed for the crunch of a good dill pickle but have always been disappointed with what I find at the store, with the exception of an organic variety that I can’t recall right now. Grocery store pickles are yellow, they smell funny and they are anything but crunchy.
I planted 4 boston pickling cucumber plants but all of the cukes are turning yellow, which means either they’re getting too much water (very doubtful with the SEVERE DROUGHT we’ve had in Indiana), or from some kind of off-balance of proteins in the soil? Whatever. Instead I purchased cucumbers at the farmers market so I could satisfy my craving.
The recipe? Courtesy of Food in Jars (with minor adaptations), and is the third recipe I’ve made out of her book. Full-length review coming soon.
Classic Dill Pickles
Adapted from Food in Jars
Makes 4 pints
- 3 cups apple cider vinegar
- 3 cups water
- 3 tsp kosher salt
- Fresh dill sprigs, 3-5 per pint or whatever you have on hand
- 2 tsp black peppercorns
- 8 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 lbs pickling cucumbers
While you’re sterilizing your jars, bands and lids, slice your cucumbers into rounds using a mandolin or one of those fancy knives that makes them jaggedy. Yup.
To make the brine: Boil the apple cider vinegar, water and kosher salt. Set aside.
In each sterilized jar, distribute the 1/2 tsp of black peppercorns, ¼ tsp of red pepper flakes, 2 smashed garlic cloves and 2 springs of dill.
Pack the jars halfway with cucumbers (as tightly as you can) and top with more springs of dill. Add cucumbers until you reach ½ inch from the top of the jar. We also added more dill to the tops of the jars.
Pour the brine into each jar leaving ½ headspace.
Top with lids and bands and process for 5 minutes. Cucumbers have a shorter processing time so that you don’t boil away all of the crunchiness, which is why we’re here, remember?
If your jars don’t seal right after you take them out of the water bath, be patient. If they haven’t sealed after a few hours, tip the jars over and let them sit like that until the next day. The heat from the brine may put enough pressure on the lid to seal it. This goes for anything you process in a water bath.
Let these sit for at least a week before consuming so you can taste all of the great flavor you put into it!
My adaptations included using fresh dill vs dill seed (because fresh dill is prettier!), using 3 cups of vinegar/water instead of 2 because I started out with 2 of each and ran out of brine for my last jar, and kosher salt vs pickling salt.
One of my jars didn’t seal so I put it in the fridge and will be enjoying them later on this week. It happens. And when it does, it’s not TOO bad because you can just eat it right away instead of waiting!