Sunday, January 25, 2015

Homemade Crunchy Dill Pickles

This past September I made homemade dill pickles. When I was growing up, my parents made dill pickles. My mother never bought pickles in the store - if she could can them there was no reason to buy them.

One batch of pickles that I made in September 2014.

It wasn't until I was purchasing groceries on my own that I realized that pickles could be crunchy. I read on City Boy Hens that "The reason that homemade pickles generally become mushy over time is that there is an enzyme on the flowering end of the cucumber that does not get destroyed during the canning process. As a result, it breaks down the fibers in the cucumber over time and turns it into a soft and mushy pickle within six months."

According to City Boy Hens, "The secret is a product up in Canada called Pickle Crisp by Bernardin (Canada’s answer to USA’s Ball). Just 1/4 teaspoon in each quart jar will keep your pickles crisp for long past a year!"

So, I thought I'd give pickle making a try after finding Pickle Crisp at Fleet Farm. There also was a package of flavorings which included Pickle Crisp that I thought I'd try as a comparison.

Another batch of pickles that I made in quart jars
during September 2014.

First, I made the pickles using the package of flavorings. It was easy to do because I just made the solution and put it in the jars with the cut-up cucumbers. After putting them in a water bath for the recommended time, they were done.

Then I made a batch of pickles using the recipe on City Boy Hens that makes six quart jars:

Ingredients: 

5 lbs. pickling cucumbers
8 cups water
8 cups pickling vinegar
1 cup pickling salt (don’t use table salt. It will cloud your brine and turn your pickles to an unpleasant color)

Into each jar add:

1/2 teaspoon mustard seed
1 large garlic clove (sliced)
1 bunch dill
1/4 teaspoon Pickle Crisp

Directions:

Weigh, wash, and gently scrub cucumbers. Discard any that appear spoiled. Cut the ends off of each end of the cucumbers.

Fill your canner with water about 2 inches higher than the height of your jars and bring the water to a boil. This will take a bit of time.

Sterilize your jars in the oven at 225 degrees for 10 minutes and continue to keep them warm in the oven until they are needed.

Place canning seals and rings in a small pot and begin to warm them up.

In the mean time, begin making your brine solution and bring it to a boil.

Carefully remove sterilized jars from the oven and add dill, garlic, mustard seed and pickle crisp to each jar.

Firmly pack each jar with as many pickles as you can possibly fit into this space.

Once packed, pour the brine into each jar using a canning funnel, making sure to leave a 1/4″ head space in each jar. (Note: I did 1/2" head space because that's what two other recipes for pickles instructed.)

Wipe the lip of each jar with a wet paper towel. Using tongs, place the seals and rings on each jar.

Carefully place each sealed jar into the canner and process in boiling water for 15 minutes.

Carefully remove each jar from the boiling water and leave to cool on thick towel.

Listen for the ping of each jar as it seals. Once the jars cool, store them in a dark. cool place for at least six weeks to allow the flavors to develop.

As a side note, on Pick Your Own, there's a very helpful FAQ list regarding canning pickles.

A jar of pickles I made using the recipe on
City Boy Hens' website.

Both versions turned out very well, and each has a slightly different flavor. We definitely are going to can more dill pickles during the 2015 season after seeing how easy, flavorful, and crisp the pickles are to make.

2 comments:

Home School Dad said...

If we grow cucumbers in our garden this summer,we may try this.

Rita said...

LOL! Anything pickled makes me gag, but I am so glad you found the secret to crispy pickles. I know people who love pickles and they have mentioned they like them crispy the best. ;)