A tale of two pickles between today and tomorrow – two different techniques that yield very different results, both with their own advantages. Today’s article is about quick dills – pickles that can be made and enjoyed within a few weeks and will peak in several months.
Quick Set Dill Pickles
You will notice that these pickles are cut into strips – doing so will speed up the pickling process and aid in lessening the time it takes to achieve a pickled goodness – the trade-off with these is that they are not nearly as crispy as a whole pickle that has spent more time absorbing a wonderful brine.
1. Chop 4 pounds of pickling cucumbers. For best results, these should be fresh picked (within 24 hours of harvest is ideal). It has been my surprise that you can buy these through the winter in Ontario now – not fresh but better than store bought if you like picking! The less you chop, the crisper these will be – and the longer the set will take (chilling them before eating will help substantially increase the crunch). Cut and pack fairly tightly into hot sterilized jars.
Mix the following and bring just to a boil and ensure all ingredients are dissolved:
2. 3 cups vinegar – white vinegar is typically used, though you can mix 50-50 with cider vinegar if you’d like. Cider vinegar is sweeter. You need a vinegar with a minimum of 6% acidity – if the label doesn’t specify, find one that does.
3. 2 1/4 cups water – distilled/mineral water is preferred. Avoid chlorine from the tap or in many bottled waters. If you purchase your water, ensure it only has one ingredient (scary one has to specify this these days)
4. 1/4 cup of pickling or canning salt – this is different than kosher salt; it does not include additives that will otherwise cloud your brine.
Add to each jar:
5. A garlic clove
6. 1 teaspoon dill seeds
7. 1 teaspoon pickling spice (available on most spice racks)
8. 6-8 peppercorns
9. Pour the vinegar in the jars, hot. Leave about 1/4 inch headspace (air; this is a fairly standard amount of air).
10. Give a gentle shake to release any air bubbles, add liquid if required (you want to end up with the 1/4 inch – too much could lead to spoilage). You may need gloves if this is still hot.
Place sterilized seals, secure with rings and process in pressure cooker for 10 minutes. Cool on racks. Makes about 6 pints.
These are great when you are in a pinch – I make these to eat while I wait for my long-setting pickles brine – it’s like a pickle appetizer to prep for a pickle main course!
For more info on jarring, pressure cooking, preserving best practices, check out the preserving page above.