How to make delicious homemade canned dill pickles. Small Town Girl Blog.

Adventures in Canning: Dill Pickles

A summer of canning would not be complete with out classic dill pickles now would they? I love dill pickles. I’m one of those people who can sit around and eat them straight out of the jar and call it a meal. The salty, vinegary flavor just does it for me. I tried to wait for my seedlings to produce but as of last week,  I’ve picked one… and when your local produce market dangles a 20 lb box of perfect pickling cucumbers in front of you…

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You cave! So this was my first time making pickles and with so many I wanted them to be the way I like them: no sugar, very vinegary and dilly (obviously) with garlic. I consulted the Ball Blue Book first but couldn’t find quite what I was looking for. Most of their recipes call for sugar, and, um no. I hate sweet pickles. It’s just not my bag. Next I searched web to see what other fellow bloggers had done. I soon realized it was simply a matter of determining your water/salt/vinegar ratio. Then add your extras and the rest is simple. So here’s my custom but basic recipe for delicious dill pickles!

Makes 6 wide mouth quarts

Ingredients:

  • 10 lbs pickling cucumbers
  • 10 cups water
  • 3 cups vinegar
  • 2/3 cup pickling salt
  • 12 garlic cloves
  • 6 dill heads

Instructions:

Soak and thoroughly rinse cucumbers. Remove any excess blossoms or stems.

How to make delicious homemade canned dill pickles. Small Town Girl Blog.

I found it useful to separate my cucumbers into small, medium, and large piles.

How to make delicious homemade canned dill pickles. Small Town Girl Blog.

At this point start sanitizing your jars and lid rims. I just use the antibacterial setting on the dishwasher using water only. Works like a charm.

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Add water, vinegar, and salt to a large pot and bring to a boil. I check and stir occasionally as I’m setting everything else up. Once the salt is dissolved, turn the heat down to a simmer.

This is also a good time to get your water bath stock pot warmed up and another smaller pot for warming up your lid caps.

Cut dill heads. I also like to keep some of the bushy branches as they have a bit of flavor too.

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Shell garlic cloves.

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And now were ready to can!

Start with however many cans you can fit in your stock pot. For me, it’s 4 of the quart sized ones. So I take 4 out of the dishwasher and continue to let the rest sanitize.

Put 1 dill head and 2 garlic cloves in each can. If the dill head is very small, I’ll throw some of those bushy branches in too.

How to make delicious homemade canned dill pickles. Small Town Girl Blog.

Add cucumbers lengthwise into the jars. I start with the mediums cucs and then stuff the top with small ones.

How to make delicious homemade canned dill pickles. Small Town Girl Blog.

Ladle hot vinegar/salt/water mixture over cucumbers leaving 1/2 inch headspace.

Cover with lid and cap.

Boil in the water bath for 10 minutes.

What to do with the big cucs?

For me, I ran out of big quart jars before I got to the big cucumbers. So I cut them up and put them in pint jars for gifts. Worked like a charm!

How to make delicious homemade canned dill pickles. Small Town Girl Blog.

Important: Wait at least a week before opening your first bottle. This will help set the flavors.

Enjoy!!

How to make delicious homemade canned dill pickles. Small Town Girl Blog.

How to can delicious dilly beans. Small Town Girl Blog.

Adventures in Canning: Dilly Beans

How to can delicious dilly beans. Small Town Girl Blog. Last summer I discovered the wonderful world of canning. It’s the crafty, rewarding, and a great way to stay productive in the summer. As a teacher, I’ll admit, I get lazy and out of sync when I don’t have a schedule… Canning is on of several activities that keeps me busy and focused during long breaks from work. I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a new hobby or just something different to do the next time you find yourself hanging around the house being bored.

The best place to start is by purchasing the Ball Blue Book. It explains everything in fantastic detail and has a wealth of recipes. For more information, check out the Ball getting started website.

Dilly Beans was the first recipe that I tried on my own and it was EASY! My friend, Mrs. Awesome, makes these every year with her daughters. They are a coveted family treat in their household. Last year, she gave us a couple extra cans and they were gone in 3 days! Once they were gone, I knew I had to start canning if we were going to have a steady supply of this spicy pickled goody in our home. The recipe calls for 2 lbs of beans which sounds substantial at first… until you notice it only makes about 4 jars. Between MM and I, those are as good as gone in a week. That simply will not do! So, this year I decided to start with 5 lbs which yielded 12 cans. That’s way more like it!

There is absolutely no reason to deter from the genius that is the Ball Blue book nor do I see a reason to type out the recipe, so here ya go:

How to can delicious dilly beans. Small Town Girl Blog.

Below are a few tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way:

First, you need to wash and cut the beans. This is the most tedious part of the whole operation. Make sure you get rid of the stalks in particular.

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I like to add the dill, cayenne pepper, and garlic to the cans before stuffing them with beans. It’s easier. It says to use a whole head of dill per can but the ones I got were huge so I broke them into thirds and it worked great. I also like using the stringy leafy bits as well as the heads.

How to can delicious dilly beans. Small Town Girl Blog.

Then stuff the beans lengthwise into the cans.

How to can delicious dilly beans. Small Town Girl Blog.

After adding the boiling liquid, you’ll want to get the air bubbles out using headspace tool. You will probably find that you may be able to stuff a few more beans in the can too…. do it!!

Seal the cans and put them in a 10 minute water bath.

I like to wait at least 4 days before diving in. It gives the flavors a chance to really sink in.

Enjoy chilled.

How to can delicious dilly beans. Small Town Girl Blog.

Adventures in Canning: Strawberry Rhubarb Jam

Strawberry Rhubarb is a grand blend. That’s all I can say. Well, no it’s not, but it’s a good start!

It all began with my lovely neighbors going to New Zealand for the month of May. While they were gone they told me I could snag some rhubarb from their garden if I wanted so it wouldn’t go to waste. Well I wasn’t going to pass up that opportunity, no sir! I felt like such a stalker walking onto their property and robbing them of their harvest! I had often thought it would be fun to grown my own….

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Until I saw the size of this plant!

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Good lord! I don’t have room in my garden for one of these!!

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Jurassic Park called, they want their plant back!

Of course, I started with a making a crisp. But I had twice as much as I needed. After researching online I found that vacuum sealing and freezing was a recommended way to preserve short term. We do this all the time with our fish so this was a cinch! Do be aware, it was mushy after it thawed which is fine for most recipes but it’s not going to be crunchy if that’s what you’re looking for.

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Here is the link for the recipe from Melissa K. Norris

First in the pot with pectin and lemon juice.

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Meanwhile keeping your jars warm. I learned to use my dishwasher on the sani-rinse cycle with just water for my jars and rings.

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Then put the lids in a lightly simmering pot of water

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Organization is key in the canning operation. I almost flipped a lid when MM came in and threw a pizza box down on my towels. He was promptly tossed out of the kitchen!

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It even looks pretty poured in the cans!

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So easy to make and so so good! MM and I cleaned of one jar in a day it was so good! I could practically eat it with a spoon!IMG_1590

Adventures in Canning: Apple Butter

I am having so much fun canning!! I feel like lately I’m constantly looking for the next tasty thing I can put in a can these days. It’s kinda silly. One of my favorite sweet things ever is apple butter. So it seemed like the next natural choice. Here’s the link to the recipe I used.

First you need a bunch of apples and a way to slice/core/peel them. Fortunately, my mother had one from her canning days in the 70’s.

IMG_1475It’s funny. I was born in the late 70’s and I don’t feel old. But this apple corer/slicer/peeler sure does! Check out the instructions:

IMG_1476They’re so faded you can barely read them! I had to practically put the paper to my nose to read it lol. But it still worked well!

IMG_1477Then into the crockpot. The recipe said to cook it low overnight but I don’t have patience or time for that. So I put it on high.

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After 6 hours, it did the trick!

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First I mashed it with a potato masher. Then moved on to the immersion blender.

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Into cans, 10 minute water bath and Voila!!

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Can’t wait to have it on pancakes!!