The dill flower heads are in full bloom in the garden. That can mean only one thing – it’s time to get pickling. Last summer at Eat Grow Play summer camp I managed to do the unthinkable…. I worked with 7 kids in a hot August kitchen to pickle 10 large jars of dill cucumbers. I say unthinkable because pickling alone is one of those tricky, mind boggling kitchen tasks that always seems so overwhelming. Add 14 little hands into the mix and it’s enough to make even the calmest chefs turn a little batty. It turned out to be one of my more successful kids classes to date and I absolutely loved seeing the kids faces when I pulled those jars out of the hot water canner – “ah ha that’s where pickles come from!” The key to success was preparation. We worked as a team to make sure all the ingredients, jars and tools were in place before we began the canning process. I promise that with a little bit of practice and lots of preparation you can become a successful home preserver just like your Grandma.
6 lb (2.7 kg) small (4 inch/10 cm) pickling cucumbers
4 cups (1 L) white vinegar
4 cups (1 L) water
1/2 cup (125 mL) pickling salt
2 tbsp (30 mL) pickling spices
3 tbsp (45 mL) mustard seeds
9 heads fresh dill
9 cloves garlic
- Review high acid foods canning instructions before beginning.
- Scrub cucumbers. Cut 1/8 inch (3 mm) off ends. Cut lengthwise into quarters.
- In large saucepan, bring vinegar, water, pickling salt and pickling spice to boil; reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Strain.
- Into each of nine 2-cup (500 mL) sterilized canning jars, place 1 tsp (5 mL) mustard seeds, 1 head dill and 1 clove garlic. Tightly pack in cucumbers to within 3/4 inch (2 cm) of rim. Add hot pickling liquid to cover cucumbers, leaving 1/2-inch (1 cm) headspace.
- Cover with prepared lids. Screw on bands until resistance is met; increase to fingertip tight. Boil in boiling water canner for 10 minutes.
- Remove jars to a clean tea towel and let stand until cool. Tighten bands and move jars to a cool dark place in your home. Let stand for 3 weeks before opening.