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Dill Pickles

This is an old recipe. It takes a bit of effort and good materials, but the product is so much better than anything normally found out in the marketplace that every bit of that effort will be well rewarded every time you go for a dill.

To make good dill pickles, first you need a decent 5 gallon pottery crock or enameled vessel. Don't use metal or plastic unless you like their flavors. Wash your crock well. Find a spot where the crock can stay while the cucumbers are pickling that is as cool as possible, and where the temperature is stable.

Next, get a half bushel of the best pickling cucumbers that you can find. Ideally, get them from a farmer who is your friend and will tell you when they are picking the good ones, (Here's to Wagner Farms in Corrales, NM). A local farmers market is also a good bet. Get them as soon as they are picked. Sort the pickings through, and get the nice ones. I like to get them about 3 or 4 inches long, nicely shaped and curved, no soft spots and a nice, green skin. Be careful not to bruise them. Wash the dirt off of them gently and put them in the crock.

To the cucumbers add:
  • 3/4 cup whole pickling spices
  • 2-3 bunches fresh dill weed, (couple good handsful)
  • 10-20 or more crushed cloves of garlic
  • Good handful of fresh grape leaves if possible
  • Handful of small hot dried red chiles, your call

Make a brine:

  • 2 1/2 gallons clean, cold water, distilled if in doubt as to water quality
  • 1 3/4 cup kosher salt
  • 2 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp alum, or 1 tsp if no grape leaves. These keep the pickles crisp

Stir together until all of the salt is dissolved. Pour over cucumbers in crock.

Stir it all around a bit gently, and then place a plate upside down on the cucumbers and place a weight on the plate to keep it all under water. Don't use metal. Tie a cloth over the crock to keep out bugs. Gently turn over the cucumbers and all every three or four days. There wil be a bit of white mold after a couple weeks, no worry. Pickles will be done after from three to six weeks or so, depending on weather, temperatures, winds and general kharmic influences. Taste one every few days, you will know when they are right. When they are done, they will keep the best if they are put in glass gallon jars and stored in the refrigerator, but they will be fine anywhere that is as cool as possible.

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