Sunday, December 2, 2012

Perfect Pickles

7-Day Garlic Dill Pickles
One of my favorite culinary pastimes is pickling.  For as long as I can remember, every fall my mother would do some form of pickling whether it was pickled beets, pickled eggs or my personal favorites her seven-day dills.  I remember as a child going with my mother to the Parkdale Market on Saturday mornings bright and early and wait for the stands to open so we could get our pick of the best cucumbers.  Once we brought them home I’d watch the process she’d follow from this worn out piece of paper to make her dills with my dad. 

This hand written recipe is older than I am!
Later on as an adult, I started making them myself.  One year I remember making over 50 large mason jars.  I’d give them away to friends and family and everyone use to say how they were the best garlic dill pickles they ever had.  In one instance, a friend of mine enjoyed them so much; he even drank the juice after finishing off the jar.

I realize it is a bit late in the season to make these, however if you ever come across some fresh cucumbers or next September give theses a try.  The secret is using #1 sized cucumber and you can buy them at both the Parkdale and Byward markets starting in September.  It is also imperative that after soaking the cucumbers of 6 to 8 hours in ice water to crisp them make sure you dry them before stuffing them into the jar.

7 Day Garlic Dills (yields 8 jars)

  • 5 lbs of #1-size cucumbers
  • 1 bag of ice cubes or 4 to 5 trays of ice cubes in cold water
  • 16 small sprigs of dill
  • 16 cloves of garlic diced
  • 3 quarts (12 cups) of cold water
  • 1 cup pickling salt (for less salty taste, use ¾ cup)
  • 1 quart (4 cups) of white vinegar
  1. Rinse and scrub cucumbers thoroughly
  2. Place in large container or kitchen sink add ice cubes and water and soak 6 to 8 hours to crisp, drain and dry thoroughly
  3. Sterilize 8 large mason jars (approximately 1 quart in size) and place one sprig of dill and one diced garlic clove in each jar, pack cucumbers inside jar and place another sprig of dill and diced garlic clove on top.
  4. Make brine by boiling water, salt and vinegar for 5 minutes until salt dissolves.
  5. Pour hot brine into mason jars making sure there’s no air bubbles, seal mason jars tightly.  As jars cools you may hear lids “popping” as they seal
  6. Store jars in cool area such as a basement or cold storage for seven days.  The longer the jars sit the better the pickles will taste.

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