Sunday, July 20, 2014

Canned Dill Pickle Recipe With Grape Leaves

Like most women from her generation, my grandmother was an expert at preserving food. She grew up on a farm and later bought a farm with my grandfather.  She raised four kids while my grandfather farmed.  She was an amazing cook, and I'm so glad to have some of her recipes.

This particular recipe was lost for many years after my grandmother passed away.  None of the kids had the recipe, so we thought it was gone forever.  Then my  mother, who married in to the family, found the recipe in her recipe box almost 10 years after my grandmother passed away.  I got it too late last year to make pickles, so you better believe it was the first thing that I made this year when my cucumbers were ripe.

My grandmother's dill pickle recipe calls for a grape leave on the bottom of each jar.  It's supposed to keep the pickles crisp.  Does it?  I have no idea.  My grandma said to use it, so I use it.

For this recipe, I'll assume that you know the basics of canning.  If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments.  I will try my best to answer.

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How to Make Canned Dill Pickles From Scratch

Wash and sanitize jars, rings, and lids.  This recipe makes 4 pints or 2 quarts.  I doubled it and got enough brine to make 10 pints.

This recipe is to make quart jars.  If you want to make pints, the brine recipe is the same, but you'll use half of the spices per jar.

First, you'll want to pick some fresh grape leaves.  For me, this meant walking to the front yard. If you don't have fresh grape leaves, you can omit them.  It won't affect the flavor at all.  You can also use pickle crisp. I have never used it, so I can't offer any advice other than read the directions.  Place one leaf on the bottom of each jar.

Start to boil your brine.  Boil 5 cups water, 1/2 cup white vinegar, and 1/3 cup salt.

Cut your cucumbers and pack each jar.  I cut mine in slices.  You might want spears.  Cut them however you want.  Thick, thin.  It all works.  Pack those babies into the jar.  You want that jar full to the rim because the cucumber will shrink when you water bath the jars.

Next add your spices to each jar.  If your herb garden did better than mine, add 4 dill heads and stems.  If your chickens ate your herbs too or you didn't grow any, use 4 teaspoons of dill weed or dill seeds.  I used half of each one for the best of both worlds.

You can add 1 teaspoon of ground horseradish if you feel spunky.  I'm not spunky, so I didn't add it.

Add 1 teaspoon mustard seed.

Top with a thin onion slice or a garlic clove.  I added both. I'm a rebel like that.

By now, your brine should be boiling.  Pour it over the cukes, leaving 1/2 inch head space.

Give your pickles a bath so those flavors mix together and the germs are killed. Process for 10 minutes  in a boiling water bath.

When the time is up, turn off the stove and take the lid off of your canner.  Let the water cool for a few minutes before removing jars.  Jars can crack if they are cooled too quickly.  Let them sit on a towel or other heat proof surface until completely cool.

You'll be tempted to test the seal on the jars as soon as you can.  Don't!  This can disturb the seal and even cause a sealed jar to unseal.  Yep, it's happened to me.

Let these canned dill pickles sit for a month before eating them.  I have to take mine to the basement so I don't cheat!

I hope you enjoy this recipe!

Canned Dill Pickles from Scratch

Makes 2 quarts

Ingredients
  • 8 cups of cucumber slices or enough spears to fill 2 quart jars
  • 4 heads and stems of dill (or 4 teaspoons of dill weed or dill seed)
  • 1 teaspoon ground horseradish (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seed
  • 1 large onion slice or garlic clove
  • 5 cups water
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/3 cup salt
Directions
  1. Boil water, vinegar, and salt.
  2. Fill jars with cucumber slices or spears.
  3. Add horseradish, mustard seed, dill, and onion or garlic.
  4. Pour brine over pickle slices, leaving 1/2" head space.
  5. Process jars 10 minutes.
  6. Let sit for a month before opening.
To make pints, make brine as directed and add only 1/2 of each spice to each jar.  I doubled the brine and had enough brine for 10 pints.


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