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My FAMOUS PICKLE RECIPE! (it's easy too!)

It's that time of year again, and we've been doing a lot of canning to prepare for the winter months...  I have had a few requests for my pickle recipe, which is quite popular, lower in salt than most recipes, and VERY EASY!

I use the "HOT JARS, HOT BRINE, HOT LIDS METHOD"

I always pre-wash my jars, and then then DAY of pickle-mania I put them in the oven at 170F
I keep my lids in a pot of hot water on the stove, not quite boiling...
The cucumbers are bathing in a COLD water bath in the sink, after they've been cleaned

Brine:
4 cups white vinegar
8 cups water
2/3 cups coarse pickling salt  
* heat until all salt is dissolved, and keep at a very low boil

Jars:
- take a hot jar from the oven (oven mits HIGHLY recommended!) and add 2 cloves of garlic and 2 heads of dillweed
- lean on its side (usually on a rolled up towel - it's still HOT!) and start stuffing with cucumbers... I will use the larger cukes in the bottom of the jar, and the smaller ones to fill the top... be careful not to fill it too full, the cucumbers should not be able to touch the lid once it's on
- pour hot brine into the jar over the cucumbers, and fill until 3/4 inches from the top
*** use a clean wet cloth to wipe the rim of the jar before setting the lid on - this prevents there from being salt from the brine on the rim, and will ensure a better seal
- use tongs to collect a lid from the hot bath, and set it on the jar
- use a ring and spin it on, just until it is hand tight
- do not tip - and set the completed jars on hot pads (I used large towels) so they can seal (likely within 24 hours)
REPEAT :)

This recipe, if the proper method is followed, produces delicious CRUNCHY pickles... I find the pickles to be a lot crisper than if they were put through a hot water bath, and it takes a fraction of the time... It is the vinegar and salt combination that preserves the cucumbers so they do not spoil, and with the hot jars and brine, I rarely have jars that don't seal.

*NOTE: should you have jars that do not seal, they are still good!  Just store them in the fridge, and wait a few weeks to enjoy (2 weeks minimum, but the longer they sit, the better they'll taste!)

I use this same recipe for pickling carrots and beans... the only difference is that I'll use 3/4 cups of pickling salt for the carrots (because they're so sweet, I find they need a little extra) and only 1/2 cup for the beans.

You can also spice-it-up a bit and add a hot pepper (or 2) to each jar... I've used cayenne and jalapeno, and both are delicious!

ENJOY!