Thursday, September 11, 2008

Comfort Food

This is my idea of comfort food...a cabinet stocked with canned fruit and jams that I made myself. I am like a squirrel stocking up nuts for the winter when it comes to preserving food this summer.

The canning all started this year with pickles. My grandma made the best pickles, which I wanted to try and replicate. I had to pose a lot of questions to my mom since my grandma didn't write anything down. I just opened the first jar of pickles and they are delicious! I only made five jars, which I thought would be enough. But, since I just ate, oh, half a jar, I'm wishing I had made more (at least they are low calorie, right?).

I may have to make another trip to the farmer's market this week to see if they still have any pickling cucumbers.

Here is the basic pickle recipe I used. I played around a bit by adding more garlic to a few jars and throwing a bay leaf into another jar. They are really easy to make, but the house will smell like vinegar for a few days. This recipe makes eight jars, but I didn't get quite enough cucumbers, so I ended up with five.

Dill Pickles
8 pounds pickling cucumbers (I like small ones, but the ones I ended up finding were 4-5 inches)
4 cups cider vinegar
12 cups water
2/3 cup pickling salt
16 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
2 bunches of fresh dill weed

Wash the cucumbers, and place in a bowl with cold water and ice cubes. Soak for about 2 hours. Sterilize eight, one quart canning jars (I just put them in the dishwasher) and boil the lids and rings for about ten minutes. It is best if you keep the lids, rings and jars hot.

In a large pot combine the vinegar, water and salt and bring it to a rapid boil. In each jar, place two half-cloves of garlic (or more--if you dare!), two sprigs of dill and enough cucumbers to fill the jar. Pack them in tight. Add two more sprigs of dill and two more garlic halves. Fill jars with the hot brine.

Wipe the tops of the jars to be sure no vinegar is on them. Screw on the lids. Many of mine were hot enough that they sealed on their own. But, for those that don't process the sealed jars in a boiling water bath for five to ten minutes.

Not only did the house smell like vinegar, but so did my clothes and my hair. So if you try this recipe, leave yourself enough time to take a shower before you need to leave the house!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I loved Grandma Forsgren's pickles! and you're right she wouldn't write you a recipe. It seemed like no matter how many bottles I made we always ran out before the next summer :-)