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SPICY DILL PICKLES – I love them and here’s a darn good/simple recipe

November 8, 2011

Ah pickles.  I love them.  I mean really, I do.   One of my grandparents gave me a gallon bulk jar of dills for a childhood birthday gift, and that one is up there among my all time favorite presents.

So this recipe I have, pretty simple and successful.  I tried to make dills before and I was not pleased with the level of crispity/crunchiness.  With this recipe, I was most satisfied.  Here it is.  Sorry it’s not more specific, but it’s so basic that it can be easily modified.

Hot Dills

– 1 to 1 ratio of water to basic white vinegar (a good amount is 4 cups of water to 4 cups of vinegar)

– 1 cup of kosher salt (assuming you’re going with the 4 cups/4 cups ratio)

– a whole bunch of smallish, fresh cucumbers

– dried red chiles (they’re usually on a rack in most produce sections)

– a couple packages of fresh dill

– 30+ peeled whole cloves of garlic

Bring the water, vinegar, and salt to a boil.  In the meantime, cut the cucumbers in spears that will fit the jars you have.  Yep, no soaking in salt over night, just put them straight into the jars.  Additionally, tuck away amongst the spears: 2-3 of the chiles (2 for smaller jars, 3 for larger or if you like them super spicy), 2-3 cloves of garlic, and a couple sprigs of the dill.  With the jars packed and the solution boiling, start filling the jars with the hot liquid.  While it’s still steaming, put the lids and the fasteners on.

To ensure crispy pickles, you don’t process these jars (i.e. dunking the full jars in boiling water for a few minutes to seal them).  The jars seal just from the heat of the solution.  And, if after sitting out over night and cooling down they haven’t sealed, then just put them straight into the fridge.  In fact, we put the whole lot into the fridge even though they all successfully sealed, which may have increased the crunch-factor.  We let them hang out there for several weeks, and once they were ready, we ripped through them.   Delicious.  However, for those trying to gage the likely spice level, I will say that the jars we left towards the end (say 2+ months of pickling) were spicy indeed.  After finishing off a jar, I even used the leftover solution to top off a Clausen jar and it even spiced up those pickles.

Oh, and I am assuming no one needs to learn about sanitizing jars, etc.  Check out Food in Jars or search the interweb if you want more technical assistance.

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