Sunday, September 20, 2009

blog #334 >> Pigs and Pickles

Yesterday I went up to my brother's house and visited their new baby pigs. They're very cute, but still afraid of people.

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And after that my mom helped me can some pickles.

Here are my two recipes for those who are interested.
This dill recipe is my first step closer to Martha Wiztel's pickles. Martha Witzel was a friend of my great-grandparents who lived down the street from us growing up. And I used to clean house for her when I was young. Every week when I was done cleaning we'd open up a jar of her famous homemade pickles and share them. (Basically, I was paid in chocolate cake and pickles... and I had to make the chocolate cake.) And every week I'd ask her for that dill pickle recipe, and every week she said it was a secret. (I think she said that just to vex me.) Anyhow I never did get her recipe, and now I never will, so it's up to me to rediscover her long lost secret dill pickle recipe.
This is my first attempt.

Dill Pickles:

5 large cucumbers sliced into spears
2 cups white vinegar
6 cups water
1/3 cup pickling salt
7 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
14 heads fresh dill weed
1 3/4 tea. mustard seed
1 3/4 tea. peppercorns

1. Wash and sterilize 7 pint jars.
2. In a large pot over medium-high heat, combine the vinegar, water, and pickling salt. Bring the brine to a rapid boil.
3. In each jar, place 1 cloves of garlic, one head of dill, about a 1/4 tea. of mustard seed and 1/4 tea. of peppercorns, then enough cucumbers to fill the jar. Pack them tightly. Fill jars with hot brine. Seal jars, making sure you have cleaned the jar's rims of any residue.
4. Process sealed jars in a boiling water bath. Process pint jars for 10 minutes.
5. Store pickles for a minimum of 8 weeks before eating. Refrigerate after opening. Pickles will keep for up to 2 years if stored in a cool dry place.

Makes about 7 pints

And for those of you sitting near us at Skating with Scissors, here is my grandma's bread & butter pickle recipe.

Bread & Butter Pickles

6 cups cucumbers
2 cups thinly sliced onion

1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
1/2 tea. salt
1/2 tea. mustard seed
1/2 tea. celery seed (I usually omit this, but only because I never have any.)
1/2 tea. turmeric

Mix sugar, vinegar, salt, and spices in a large pot and bring to a boil. Pour over onions and cucumbers. Cover and refrigerate for at least one week and up to one month.


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