CHARLOTTE – As my cucumber vines are starting to climb the trellis, while others are starting their journey out of my raised bed and into my grassy landing, I have started to plan all of the things I will be doing with them. Some popular choices this summer: Shepherds Salad, Asian Cucumber Salad, House Salads along with the Black Seed Simpson lettuce; eventually I will run out of space in the cooler and will start planning for PICKLES! Once of the most common varieties are Dill Pickles, Bread and Butter Pickles and Spicy Cajun Pickles- all go well on grilled burgers. Below, I have two recipes that you can try this summer- they are easy to execute and can add additional complexity to your backyard cookouts this Summer. So put on some good Bluegrass, get out your Mason Jars or Ball Jars and make some memories! ***Please note*** It is important to wash your jars, lids, screw bands, and canning tools in hot soapy water. Rinse thoroughly to remove all suds. Set aside to air dry on a clean kitchen towel. Enjoy~
Dill Garlic Pickles (yield 4-5 Jars)
Prep Time: 35 Minutes | On the Table: 7-10 Days
4 to 5 Mason or Ball Pint Jars | 10 3” Pickling Cucumbers | 2 tablespoon Sugar
2 cups Distilled White Vinegar | 2 cups Water | 2 tablespoons Pickling Salt
4 teaspoons Fresh Dill Leaves | 2 teaspoons Dill Seeds | 8 Garlic Cloves
Soak the pickling cucumbers and wash with a paper towel. Soak again in ice water. Once washed, trim off the stem end by ¼”. NOW- combine the water, vinegar, pickling salt and sugar and bring to a boil. Remove hot jars from canner and quarter the pickles and stuff into the storage jars. Now, cut the garlic cloves in ½ and evenly distribute into the jars. Divide evenly and distribute the dill seeds and the dill leaves. Ensure you have room to pour in the pickling liquid. Pour boiling pickling mixture over cucumbers to within ½ inch (head space) of the rim. Process in a canner water bath of boiling water for 10 minutes. Remove the jars from the pot and allow them to cool on a dishtowel on the counter. As the jars cool you will hear them pop as they seal. Sealed jars should feel solid when tapped and be concave in shape. Store in a dry cool place. Pickles will be ready to try in about 7-10 days but get even better over time. They can be stored for up to 1 year.
Bread and Butter Pickles (yield 4-5 Jars)
Prep Time: 3.5 Hours | On the Table: 7-10 Days
4 to 5 Mason or Ball Pint Jars | 10 3” Pickling Cucumbers | 1 large Yellow Onion
¼ cup Pickling Salt | 2 quarts crushed ice or ice cubes and water
1 cup Cane Sugar | 1 tablespoon Mustard Seed | 1 teaspoon Celery Seed
1 teaspoon Turmeric, ground | 1 teaspoon Black Peppercorns
½ teaspoon Cloves, whole | 16 oz. Apple Cider Vinegar | 8 oz. White Vinegar
Wash cucumbers, cut into 1/4-inch slices discarding ends. Peel and thinly slice onions. Combine sliced cucumber and onions a large bowl. Sprinkle canning salt over the top of the cucumbers and onions, cover with ice and water, and let stand for 3 hours.
Now-Place the jar rack into water bath canner, place jars in the canner, and add water to cover. Bring the canner to a simmer (180˚F) for 10 minutes and keep the jars hot. NOW- In a large pot, combine sugar, mustard seed, cloves, celery seed, ground turmeric, peppercorns, and vinegar. Heat just to a boil. Drain and rinse the cucumber and onions under fresh water. Add the drained cucumber and onion slices to the large pot and return to boil. Reduce heat and keep warm as you fill your jars. Use a funnel and ladle to pack the hot cucumbers and onions loosely into the jar. Ladle the hot brine over the pickles and maintaining a 1/2-inch headspace. Wipe the rim to remove any residue, center a lid on the jar, and screw on a band until it is fingertip tight. Use your jar lifter to place the jar back into the canner and repeat with the remaining jars.
Once all the jars are in canner, adjust the water level so it is 2 inches above the jar tops.
Cover the canner and bring to boil over high heat. Once water boils vigorously, continue boiling and process pickles for 10 minutes. Use the same procedure as the previous recipe- ensure they seal and store properly! Share meals together, Food is Life, Food is Love!
Chef Glenn is a corporate chef based in Waxhaw- please send any feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org