The harvesting has begun! Finally, the garlic came out of the earth late last week. It is now hanging in my pantry, "curing" for another week or so until it is ready to be used. I can't wait! My first garlic harvest was last summer, and I was surprised at the difference in flavour and juiciness compared to the garlic bought at the grocery store. So much better! ...and so much easier to peel...and ridiculously easy to grow!
I grew extra garlic this year, so that I can use it in our family's famous Dill Pickles--if you haven't had them before, beware, you won't ever want another jar of pickles from the store...
All the ingredients you will need will soon be ready for harvest...just check your local farmer's market--pickling cucumbers are usually available from about August 1st to Sept 1st, depending on the harvest availability and the size you like them. I usually try to get them nice and small, about the size of your thumb, no bigger. They stay crunchier, and are better for bite size eating....
Dill Pickles (about 20 quart jars)
1/2 bushel small cucumbers
2 bunches of dill (it's the seed/flower heads you want for this recipe)
8-10 bulbs garlic (cleaned and cut into chunks if large)
1/2 tsp alum/jar (this helps to keep them crunchy)
2 2/3 cups pickling salt
12 cups white vinegar
20 cups water
12 bay leaves (discard before adding juice to jars)
Boil pickling juice ingredients together.
Scrub cukes and place in ice water for 1-2 hours. Place 1/2 tsp alum in bottom of clean sterilized jar, add dill (seed/flower head) and 2-3 garlic cloves, add cukes. About halfway up jar add more dill, more garlic and more cukes, At top of jar add more dill and garlic. Pack cukes as tightly as possible in the jar.
Pour HOT pickling juice over cukes, and seal.
*4 litre vinegar jug= 17 cups
*scrub your cukes in the cold, wash cycle of your upright washing machine, (drain, fill with cold water and ice)
*sterilize your jars in the dishwasher-set on HOT cycle
*get your lids and rings ready by barely simmering on the stove in a shallow pan-keep them hot until you put them on the jars
*your pickling liquid should be almost boiling when you ladle it into the jars, or they won't seal properly
*if you make these in August, they will be ready to eat by Thanksgiving
Single Batch of Pickling Juice--just in case you don't have enough....
2/3 cup pickling salt
3 cups vinegar
5 cups water
2-3 bay leaves