Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Loose ends - Deli dill pickles

I was raised in the Episcopal Church and generally thought that guilt was in the sole proprietorship of the Catholics.  "Catholic Light" has all the same prayers, rituals, and hymns but none of that pesky guilt, right?


It's been weighing heavily on my mind that I haven't finished the deli dill pickles that I started waaaay back when.  OK, technically I finished them, but I haven't posted the rest of the recipe.

Here goes:

After the cukes have finished fermenting - approximately 4-6 weeks - continue to stage 2.

1. Prepare canner, jars, and lids.
2. Drain pickles, reserving brine.  Set pickles aside.  Strain brine into a large stainless steel saucepan.  Bring it to a boil over medium-high heat and boil gently for 5 minutes.

NOTE on straining - the brine will look milky and this is normal.  The milkiness comes from the natural yeast in the brine.  You could try straining it through coffee filters if this really bothers you.

3. Pack pickles into hot jars with a generous 1/2" headspace.  Ladle hot pickling liquid to cover pickles and leave 1/2" headspace.  If desired, add some hot peppers and/or garlic to the jars.  Adjust level after removing any bubbles.  Wipe rim, put on lid & ring.

4. Place jars in canner and process 15 minutes.

After being canned, the natural yeasts will settle to the bottom in a couple of weeks and look like a white layer of dust.  This is totally harmless.  I strained my brine through cloth but it didn't seem to reduce the milkiness much, if at all.

A few more notes:

I canned nearly all of my dill pickles in pint jars because while hubbie and I like dill pickles, we have a tough time eating an entire quart of them before they get slimy.

I also did a couple of half-pints of sliced dill pickle chips.  That's them on the top in the back here.  They're great for sandwiches for those times we're just too lazy to slice up some pickles.

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