To say the least, I’m starting to enjoy this canning thing. Even if I’m not saving money at this point (I would be if I were growing my own vegetables to “put up”. Maybe next year!), the satisfaction of preserving the summer’s bounty is certainly a motivator. But even more, the pleasure of opening that jar to find a delicious, perfectly crunchy pickle – one I made myself? It’s a great experience, one I’d choose over buying a jar of store-bought pickles any day.
Of course, after a bit of fumbling around with this pickle recipe, and the other canning attempt for this summer, I was elated to receive a free copy of the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving, courtesy of Canning Across America. When it came in the mail this week, I was giddy with excitement. (I’m now convinced that my husband thinks I’m nuts – who gets giddy because they have a canning guide? Apparently, I do!) So likely, you’ll be seeing more of these recipes as I dig through that book. I’m hoping to feel like a pro by the end of the season. (Also, hopefully my family and friends won’t start hiding from me when I offer to share the fruits of my canning endeavors!)
Anyway, on to the pickle recipe. I chose not to process these jars in boiling water, as I wanted to keep as much crunch in the pickle as possible. (I am not a fan of those floppy, soft pickles you sometimes find in the stores!) So, as a result, these will have to be kept under refrigeration. However, if you choose to process them, place them in enough boiling water to cover by 2-3 inches once the jars are sealed, and allow to process for about 10-12 minutes. Once removed and cooled, as long as the lids have “popped” and are sealed, they should be shelf-stable for a long time.
For the pickling spice:
1 T coriander seed
1 t allspice berries
1 T black peppercorns
1 ½ t dill seed
1 t celery seed
4 crushed bay leaves
Mix all spices together. Unused pickling spice can be kept for6 months.
To prepare the pickles:
2 c white vinegar
2 c apple cider vinegar
4 c water
1 T sugar
2 T salt
4 t pickling spice
4 lbs pickling cucumbers, sliced or cut into spears
2 banana peppers, sliced
3-4 serrano peppers, sliced
8-9 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
2 T chopped fresh dill
Bring vinegars, water, sugar, salt, and pickling spice to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring until salt and sugar is dissolved. Reduce to a simmer.
Meanwhile, wash and rinse 7 or 8 pint-size canning jars and lids, and add to a large pot of simmering water to keep warm and sterilized. Once your pickling liquid is ready, remove jars from water, and divide cucumbers, peppers, garlic, and dill among the jars. (you may have to use a butter knife to coax some of the cucumbers into the jars) Pour pickling liquid into each jar, leaving about ¼ inch headspace at top of jar. Place lids on jars and screw on tightly. Let cool on counter until room temperature, and store in refrigerator. Let the cucumbers remain in the refrigerator for at least a week before eating.
P.S. – Just in case you’re looking for Labor Day recipes, I’ve gathered some of my favorite gluten-free recipes (some are my own, some are favorites from blog friends) to share!
Happy Labor Day, everyone!