So I just finished this year’s batch of garlic-dill cucumber pickles.
I used the same brine-for-24-hrs-in-salt-water process as last year, but made a few changes to the “extras”.
Here’s what I did:
For the Extras (per jar)
1 medium-small clove fresh garlic
2 two-inch stalks of fresh dill weed
1 medium-small l dried bay leaf
1 tsp whole mustard seeds
1 tsp whole black pepper corns
1 tsp dill seed
1 grape leaf (this will help keep the pickles crunchy – possibly due to its tanins)
For the Pickling Solution
1C white wine vinegar
1/2 C water
1 (heaping) tsp salt
Having sliced up somewhere between ten and twelve 4″ cucumbers, this has left me with:
Slightly more than 8 cups of garlic-dill cucumber pickles.
I had four or five slices of cucumber left, plus a lot of extra brine, so I pickled them – sans grape leaf – and will be opening that jar in two weeks to enjoy its contents, while the rest hang out in my preserves cupboard.
It’s also left me with about 1.5 cups of pickling solution… Which I’m not totally sure what to do with just now. (I may end up leaving the water out of the solution next year…) Part of me want to go out to the balcony and pick the big cucumber that’s hanging on the vine (it looks like we’re going to get two cukes off the vine this year, which is one more than I was expecting… though we’ll see how big the second one gets…)
I think I’m more likely to wander around the corner to where the local apple tree is dropping its fruit, and collect a bunch for making apple (or peach-apple) butter. My plan is to do it in the slow cooker with a little brown sugar, maple syrup, ginger, and cinnamon. I think it’ll be a good combination. 🙂
Wish me luck! 😀
Meliad the Birch Maiden
 Note: “Extras” aren’t what preseves the vegetables. That’s what the vinegar solution does (and the salt bath, before it, actually). The Extras give the pickles a flavour beyond salt-and-vinegar. For these, I went with hot-and-spicy, though I could have gone hotter by throwing in some red pepper flakes or a few strips of fresh jalapeno. If I were doing, say, balsamic pickled peaches, I might use Etras like sliced red onion, whole cloves, slivers of fresh ginger, or cinnamon sticks… while the balsamic vinegar and brown sugar did the preserving.