Hot Garlic Dill Pickles
Yield: about 4 quarts (depends on size of cucumbers)
o fresh cucumbers (how many?...how many pickles do you want to make? It takes about 3 cucumbers (4"-5" long) to fill a quart jar.)
o jalapeno peppers, sliced, one per jar
o fresh grape leaves (any kind of grape), 2 per jar
o whole peppercorn, 1/2 teaspoon per jar
o whole garlic cloves (peeled), 3 per jar
o fresh dill sprigs, (three large sprigs per jar or substitute 1 tablespoon dried dill seed)
o crushed red pepper to taste (1/2 tsp for tangy, 1 full tsp for hot, per jar)
FOR THE BRINE:
o 4 cups water
o 4 cups white vinegar (5% distilled - common white vinegar sold in stores)
o 4 tablespoons pickling salt (you can use kosher but do not use ionized table salt)
o Note: For additional pickles just duplicate the brine recipe.
1. Wash cucumbers
2. Cut 1/16-inch slice off blossom end and discard. If using whole cucumbers, rather than sliced, and if they
have stems; leave 1/4-inch of stem attached.
3. Prepare jars and lids in boiling water. Allow to stand in boiling water until used.
4. In a separate LARGE non-reactive pot (see note below), combine brine ingredients. Bring to a boil and stir until all the salt is dissolved. Keep at a slow simmer until used.
5. In each sterilized jar place: three sprigs of dill weed, 1 medium jalapeno pepper (sliced length-way), 3 cloves garlic, 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorn and 2 grape leaves. Add crushed red pepper according to how hot you want the pickles (start with 1/2 tsp).
6. Fill jar with cucumbers (previously washed in cold water) and pour hot vinegar mix (brine) in jar to within 1/2 inch of top.
7. Seal jars hand tight and process in boiling water bath 15 minutes.
8. Store in a cool area. Best if allowed to sit at least 2-3 weeks before eating.
* You should not use reactive cookware for your brine. Reactive metals are those that react with acids (vinegar, tomatoes, lemon, ect.) and can cause an off-flavor to food and cloudy brine in pickles. The most common reactive metals are aluminum, cast iron and copper.
Non-reative cookware (the one you should use) will be made of clay, enamel, glass, plastic, or stainless steel. Additionally, some aluminum cookware is coated with an enamel layer to make them non-reactive. These may be used if the coating is not scratched.
Note 2: If you are unfamiliar with home canning procedures, read our Pickling Techniques article
Note 3: This recipe is written for use with quart jars but you can use pint size if that's what you have. If you run out of brine, do not attempt to make a partial batch, always use the full recipe for brine. For safety, proportions of salt to vinegar should not be altered.