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Pucker Up for Pickles

This fast pickling recipe will show you how surprisingly easy it is to preserve your summer bounty for the winter months.

If you’ve been growing cucumbers this summer, you know what an abundant harvest they produce. You can only eat so many salads with
cucumbers, and they don’t really lend themselves well to much cooking other than maybe a cucumber soup.

By now your neighbors have politely turned down any more of your offerings of armloads of cucumbers, and you don’t want to just let them stay on the vine and rot. How about trying your hand at making pickles? It’s not as hard as you may think.

Today you can find “canning jars” and pickling salt at just about any grocery store. I’ve found the jars at Sam’s Club, Costco and Publix.  You can also find the pickling salt at Publix. Once you pick up these items, you’ll be making great pickles in no time!

The best cucumbers to use are the smaller ones, and be sure they’re fresh picked. Don’t use ones that you’ve had lying around in your
kitchen for a few days because you need that “just picked” freshness if you’re going to have a pickle with a good “crunch”.

When you look in your pantry and see jars of pickles you preserved yourself, the satisfaction you’ll feel is as good as the tasty snap of these easy-to-make pickles.

Quick Dill Pickles                                          

Yield: One quart

1 qt. cucumbers (If you have the small cucumbers, leave them whole. If yours are a bit larger, cut them into spears.)

2 heads fresh dill or 2 tablespoons dill seeds

1 garlic clove, peeled

1 bay leaf

2 teaspoons pickling salt

1 cup white vinegar

 

  1. Sterilize your jars in boiling water according to instructions on their packaging.
  2. Pack the cucumbers into the sterilized jars. Add all of the remaining ingredients.
  3. Boil some water and fill each jar to ½ inch from the top with the boiling water and secure the lid onto the jar.
  4. Place the jars in a large pot of boiling water for 5 minutes. The water level should not come over the top of the jars, but just up to where the lid screws on. Remove after 5 minutes of boiling and allow to cool on the table or counter, undisturbed, for 12 hours. Then put them in a cool, dry place, such as a pantry or cabinet and do not open for at least six weeks, to allow all the flavors to develop.

Chef's Tip: This recipe fills a one-quart jar. You’ll find that you love these pickles so much you’ll want to make more. Just increase the recipe by the number of quarts you want to make. Place a pretty bow or ribbon on these jars and they make great, inexpensive gifts.

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