My thanks to Karen at the Yahoo Group VeggiePatch for a delicious suggestion on how to best make use of some early pickling cucumbers.
Venus and I planted a LOT of pickling cucumbers this spring, in anticipation of a large canning project in another month or two. And while those plants are now starting to produce -- they're not quite producing in the numbers needed for a large 12-or-24 quart, Boiling Water Bath (BWB), canning project.
So, what does one do with the first pickling cukes that are now more than ready to come off the vine? Save them? Freeze them? Toss them? No my friends, when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. And that's exactly what Venus and I did, with the expert assistance of our 5-year old nephew, Marquitos Stromberg.
The answer gardening guys and gals is to your left: Three DILL....LICIOUS jars of a simple canning recipe titled Clausen Kosher Dill Pickles. This is a quick and easy canning project that takes less than 20 minutes to complete from start to finish, and utilizes everything you have growing fresh in the backyard.
For instance, the recipe called for quite a bit of fresh dill. Fresh dill weed you say? Hmm.....Not a problem. You see, Venus planted this patch of dill weed about a month ago, and it's been a big hit with bees and butterflies alike. You'll even see a hummingbird, from time to time, flitting about the flowers.
The rest of this dill, and probably a bit more than this, will be used later this summer for larger canning efforts of various types of pickles.
The recipe also called for quite a bit of fresh garlic, which was again, not a huge problem since the wife and I just last week harvested an entire crop of INCHELIUM RED garlic -- some of the hottest, tastiest garlic I've ever had.
Don't look for it in Raleys. Don't look for it in Safeway. You won't find it there. If you want INCHELIUM RED garlic, you either grow it on your own in the backyard, or if you're very lucky, you might find it somewhere in a Farmer's Market.
This is great fun for a 5-year old boy, who just loves digging about the cucumber patch in search of pickling cucumbers to be used in this project. Marquitos also loves wandering about the dill weed patch (what kid doesn't love digging in weed patches or digging anywhere for that matter?) finding just the right sprig or flower needed.
The rest of the project is fairly easy. Although you do use regular "canning" jars for a project like this, they're not really required. These are also commonly known as "refrigerator pickles." They won't keep as long as a regular canning project, but look at the jar that the nephew is proudly clutching. Do you think those will last past the 4th of July?
Nope, I didn't think so either.
And now, courtesy of the Yahoo Group VeggiePatch, I give you the recipe and instructions for and easy and simple pickling project:
Clausen Kosher Dill Pickles
2 dill flowers
2 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
1- 1/4 (8-10) pickling cucumbers
6 long spring fresh dill
1 tbsp coarse kosher salt
1/2 cup white vinegar
Put dill flowers and garlic in bottom of mason jar, and add as many cucumbers that will fit in the jar (whole cucumbers)
Put sprigs of dill in the center of the cucumber filled jar and add salt, vinegar and fill jar with boiled water that is now cool to within 1/8th of top.
Put on seal and ring, shake to dissolve salt, set upside down on counter away from sunlight and heat. Let sit 4-5 days flipping the jar either upright or upside down each day. Let sit upright 2 more days then refrigerate.
Bill's Note: I live for strong garlic taste, so I used a bit more and crushed the garlic with a garlic press directly inside the jar.