Working on the September Farm Journal recipe has brought back a flood of memories! Memories of hot summer days spent with my mother sterilizing jars, lids and rings for canning. Memories of all kinds of pickles and relishes; sweet and dill pickles, "dilly" green beans, watermelon pickles, beets, relishes, and a plethora of jams and jellies that were carefully canned every summer and then "put up" for the winter months in the "fruit room" in the basement. (A great place to duck into when summer's heat weighed heavy on little girls who didn't tolerate it well; that fruit room was always cool and smelled like earth.)
It was work, but we usually managed to have some fun, and the satisfaction of gazing at row upon row of beautiful canned goods made it very gratifying indeed! Opening those jars and enjoying the contents during winter was a reminder that the cold would not last forever; summer would most assuredly return. Those seasonal rhythms always reminds me of God's promise in Genesis 8:22; "While the earth remains, seed time and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease." It is reassuring to know without a doubt that some things will remain the same in this ever-changing world!
So the recipe I am sharing this time is for Fresh-Pack Dill Pickles! Pretty classic, and pretty simple if this is your first stab at canning. We all need dill pickles in the refrigerator, just ask my husband! And I must share the comment that accompanies this recipe, it is priceless. It is a peek into farm life for those who didn't grow up around farm folks.
"Some farm people believe food for picnics, church suppers and community feasts is not complete without plenty of cool, crunchy dill pickles. And some farmers hold that there's nothing they'd rather sit down to on a blowy, autumn day, when they come cold and hungry to dinner, than a deep brown pot roast or stew with a big bowl of dill pickles nearby."
I don't recall dill pickles being the standard side dish at our table, but you can see that pickles are a big deal to farm families. I hope you enjoy reading and hopefully making this recipe. It has been a journey down memory lane for me!
*I made pint containers of pickles, rather than quarts, you will notice in the picture. One recipe would make about 18 pints. I halved the recipe.
17-18 pounds (3-5") cucumbers
1 1/2 cups salt
2 gallons water
6 cups vinegar
3/4 cup salt
1/4 cup sugar
9 cups water
2 Tablespoons whole pickling spices
Dill heads, fresh or dried (3 per quart jar)
Whole mustard seeds
Wash cucumbers; cover with brine mad by adding 1 1/2 c. salt to 2 gals. water. Let stand overnight. Drain.
Combine vinegar, 3/4 c. salt, sugar, 9 c. water and pickling spices, tied loosely in clean, thin white cloth. Heat to boiling.
Pack cucumbers into hot quart jars. Add 3 dill heads and 2 tsp. mustard seeds to each jar. Pour boiling vinegar mixture, spice bag removed, over cucumbers to within 1/2 " of jar tops.
Adjust lids. Process in boiling water bath (212-degrees F.) 20 minutes.
Remove jars from canner and complete seals unless closures are self-sealing type. Makes 7 quarts.