Friday, August 5, 2011

Family Recipe Crunchy Dill Pickles

Leo Strubbs once told my mother's best friend that if she wanted crunch she should eat celery.  Strubbs Kosher Dills are of course fermented and soft, and there is something to be said for a nice fermented pickle.  There is also something satisfying about a crunchy dill pickle as well, a memory of that summer freshness that isn't there in a soft pickle.

Suzy's Aunt Trish is a celebrated cook and professional caterer, and her crunchy dills are perhaps the best I have ever tasted, as well as incredibly simple to prepare.  With her permission here is her recipe reveealed to the world for the first time. 

Wash and soak overnight in ice water:
4 pounds small pickling cucumbers
The next day sterilze jars (the number will vary depending on the size of the cucumbers, have six ready).  Prepare a brine of:
4 cups water
2 cups of white vinegar
1/4 cup of pickling salt
And bring to boil.  One at a time, remove a jar from the pot or oven and place in the bottom:
2 cloves of peeled garlic
2 stems of dill
Pack the jar with:
And put on top:
2 more cloves of peeled garlic
2 more stems of dill
Fill with the boiling brine to a quarter inch from the top, place a hot lid on the jar and seal fingertip tight with a ring. Place on a wire rack immediately to cool overnight, check the seals, and store in a cool place for at least one month before eating.

Note: that the brine allows you to get away without processing the pickles and maximizes the crunch.  That said, in any pickle there is the risk of contamination.  If a jar shows mold, fizzes, or smells like anything other than pickles discard it.  That said, over the past few years we've only lost one jar out of the hundreds we've prepared using this method.

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