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Episode 109 - Happiness Is...
Nik's Piks
Nik's Piks!
Nik's family recipe for crunchy dill pickles makes a wonderful, personalized gift or a star addition to your pantry shelf and, naturally, a perfect year-round accompaniment to a comforting grilled cheese sandwich. Nik used the first crop of summer cucumbers in this recipe that will yield plenty of pleasure throughout the coming seasons.


Ingredients  For six one pint jars
  • 60 whole black peppercorns
  • 12 large cloves of garlic, sliced lengthwise in quarters
  • 12 sprigs of fresh dill weed
  • dill pickle cucumbers - approximately 40, depending on size.
  • salt water brine (8 cups of water, 8 cups of pickling vinegar, 1 cup of course salt)
Equipment

  • 6 one pint jars STERILIZED by total immersion in a boiling water 'bath'
  • sterilized tongs
  • chopping board
  • canning pot with lid and rack
  • pickling funnel
  • large measuring cups
  • stainless steel ladles
  • jar lifter
  • lid tightener
  • clean tea towels
  • labels
Method

  • Wash hands thoroughly and maintain a clean, organized working area throughout entire procedure.
  • Sterilize all equipment and utensils including bottles, lids and rings.
  • Combine brine ingredients in a large pot and maintain at a boil throughout the entire process.
  • Place 8 - 10 whole peppercorns in each of the sterilized jars.
  • Add 5 - 6 pieces of garlic and a sprig of dill weed to each jar. These add flavour and visual appeal.
  • Place sliced cucumber quarters into jars, large side down. Pack tightly so that pickles can not float upward when brine is added.
  • Ladle salt water brine into each jar (approximately 3 ladles per jar).
  • Top each jar with a piece of garlic and sprig of dill.
  • Remove lids from boiling water with sterilized lid lifter or tongs and place on top of jars WITHOUT TOUCHING with your hands!
  • Remove sterilized rings from boiling water with tongs and place on each jar to fasten lid. Tighten ring with lid tightener, holding onto jar with clean, dry tea towel. Careful! Take your time! Jars, lids and brine will be very hot!
  • When all the jars are filled and lidded, put them into appropriate metal rack of the canning pot partly filled with boiling water. Submerge jars, being careful not to spill as boiling water level rises. Water should come to just under the lip of the cap.
  • Maintain boil and withdraw after 5 minutes to ensure a crunchy pickle.
  • Allow to cool completely and tighten lids again. Lid should be slightly indented to show vacuum seal. When a properly sterilized jar is opened, it will make a pop sound as you break the seal.
  • Label and store in a cool, dark place. Refrigerate after opening.
  • Present pickles as a gift by wrapping in brown butcher paper and tie with a piece of raffia and identify with whimsical, hand made labels.