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cucumbers for pickling

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by Tamara from Minnesota on August 01, 2005 10:59 AM
Eevry year I have the same problem: I want to pickle baby dills and so I pick everyday while they are tiny (I grow the pickling variety) and then I try to store them until I have a few jars worth. Well they never last but get all rubbery. I really wish I knew how to solve the problem. This year I grew a lot and have a friend to share too, but how do I keep them fresh for even a few days? (any good baby dill recipes are desired too!) [dunno]

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by Lucy Lou on August 01, 2005 11:19 AM
Pickles need to be made with cucumbers that are 24 hours old or less. The fresher the better for crisp pickles. You can keep in the fridge a couple days, but they won't be as good. You can then soak in ice water for a couple hours to make them more crisp.
You can make up some brine and keep in the fridge ready for a few jars.
I use this recipe, but have not ever tried it on whole pickles. If you use it, then prick a few holes in the little cucumbers.
Kosher Dill (Heinz Recipe)
4 lbs pickling cukes
14 cloves garlic, peeled & split
1/4 cup salt
3 cups distilled or apple cider vinegar
3 cups water
12-14 sprigs fresh dill weed
28 peppercorns

Wash cucumbers; cut in half lengthwise. Combine garlic and next 3 ingredients; heat to boiling. Remove garlic and place 4 halves into each clean jar, then pack cucumbers, adding 2 sprigs of dill and 4 peppercorns. Pour hot vinegar solution over cucumbers to within 1/2 inch of top. Immediately adjust covers as jar manufacturer directs. Process 10 minutes in BWB. Makes 6-7 pints.
You could try a few jars and see how you like them. They need to set for a few weeks, though to get the flavor.
There are a lot of recipes for pickles, but this is the one I use. Be sure if you use another recipe it has the brine at least half vinegar that is 5% acidity to water ratio. Many old recipes are based on vinegar that was more acidic. They are not safe to use since cucumbers are a low acid veggie and botulism or spoilage is possible.
There is a new product called Pickle Crisp by Ball that is good for keeping them crisp in the jars. It is calcium chloride, same as the commercial industry uses. Buy it next to the canning supplies.
by Lucy Lou on August 01, 2005 11:25 AM

8 lbs of 3- to 5-inch pickling cucumbers
2 gals water
1-1/4 cups canning or pickling salt
1-1/2 qts vinegar (5%)
1/4 cup sugar
2 quarts water
2 tbsp whole mixed pickling spice
3 tbsp whole mustard seed (2 tsp to 1 tsp per pint jar)
14 heads of fresh dill (1-1/2 heads per pint jar) or
4-1/2 tbsp dill seed (1-1/2 tsp per pint jar)

YIELD: 7 to 9 pints

PROCEDURE: Wash cucumbers. Cut 1/16-inch slice off
blossom end and discard, but leave 1/4-inch of stem
attached. Dissolve 3/4 cup salt in 2 gals water. Pour
over cucumbers and let stand 12 hours. Drain. Combine
vinegar, 1/2 cup salt, sugar, and 2 quarts water. Add
mixed pickling spices tied in a clean white cloth. Heat
to boiling. Fill jars with cucumbers. Add 1 tsp mustard
seed and 1-1/2 heads fresh dill per pint. Cover with
boiling pickling solution, leaving 1/2-inch headspace.
Adjust lids and process as below or use the low-
temperature pasteurization treatment.

treatment results in a better product texture but must be
carefully managed to avoid possible spoilage. Place jars
in a canner filled half way with warm (120-140 degrees F)
water. Then, add hot water to a level 1 inch above jars.
Heat the water enough to maintain 180-185 degree F water
temperature for 30 minutes. Check with a candy or jelly
thermometer to be certain that the water temperature is
at least 180 degrees F during the entire 30 minutes.
Temperatures higher than 185 degrees F may cause
unnecessary softening of pickles. CAUTION: Use only when
recipe indicates.

Recommended process time for QUICK FRESH-PACK DILL
PICKLES in a boiling-water canner pints, 10 minutes, quarts 15 min.
by Tamara from Minnesota on August 02, 2005 01:05 AM
[Frown] That is such a pain to think you would pretty much have to pickle every day! They should breed pickle plants that put out all the crop at once- like determinate tomatoes!
Thanks for the answers! [wayey]

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by Lucy Lou on August 02, 2005 02:49 PM
You are right, that would be nice if they were ready at one time. I have many people ask this question about storing them until they get enough cucumbers.
You are welcome for the answers.
by Tamara from Minnesota on August 11, 2005 08:28 AM
Guess what? I have been pickling and I also have come up with the answer to my question. Cucs can be stored in water in the fridge several days and stay nice and crisp. I had some big ones in water all week and you couldn't tell them from the fresh ones. So now I have a new batch of little ones waiting in the fridge and they are staying crisp in their cold water. I am not sure how long I can press this though.
I can't wait to have the pickles! We did 4 recipes- babies, sweet spears, reg spears, and bread & butter oh and hot peppers too. [clappy]

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