Editor’s Note: From raising chickens and goats to knitting a masterpiece to pickling and preserving, we present your ultimate guide to mastering the homespun, do-it-yourself life in Indy. So slip on your gardening gloves, and let’s get dirty. (See all Indy DIY stories here.) Below, a recipe including tips and important notes for the best canning and pickling outcomes. This recipe has been adapted from The Joy of Pickling by Linda Ziedrich by Indy Food Swappers’ Suzanne Krowiak. It makes two pint jars.
- 1¼ pounds 4- to 5-inch cucumbers, blossom ends removed
- 3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons pickling salt
- 1 quart plus ¾ cup water
- ¾ cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 small onion
- 1 dill head
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon mixed pickling spices (available in the canning section of grocery, or at a spice store like Penzey’s)
- Quarter the cucumbers lengthwise and put them into a bowl or crock. Dissolve 3 tablespoons salt in 1 quart water, and pour the brine over the cucumbers. Top the cucumbers with a heavy plate that just fits inside the crock or bowl. Let the cucumbers stand at room temperature for 8 to 12 hours.
- Drain the cucumbers, rinse them, and drain them again. Pack them into a quart jar with the garlic, onion, and dill.
- In a nonreactive saucepan, combine the remaining ¾ cup water and 2 teaspoons salt with the vinegar, sugar, and spices. Bring the mixture to a boil. Pour the hot liquid over the cucumbers and seal the jar. Let it cool.
- Store the jar in the refrigerator for at least 1 week before eating the pickles. Refrigerated, they will keep for several months, at least.
- To can them, multiply the quantities by four. Process the jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes, or immerse them in water heated to 180 to 185 degrees (F) for thirty minutes.
AN IMPORTANT NOTE ON DILL SUBSTITUTION
If you don’t have access to fresh dill heads, you can substitute dill seed. As a general rule, one teaspoon of dried dill seeds will substitute for one dill head.
This article accompanied the “Master the Homespun Life” cover feature in the April 2014 issue.