When I think of canning or pickling, I usually think of the hours-long sessions putting up 40 jars of Kick-Ass Carrots (they’re a little spicy), pickled cauliflower or dilly beans. But I realized today that making three quarts of dill pickles is just as satisfying.
It started with my usual trip to the Alemany Farmers Market in San Francisco, where I discovered stalls and stalls of pickling cucumbers. Having successfully made several batches of sweet zucchini pickles during a cucumber shortage last year, I’d been wanting to try my hand at dills, and on the fly I picked up four pounds.
I knew I had the other ingredients on hand: vinegar, black peppercorns, dill seed and garlic, and, of course, I have a whole kitchen cabinet devoted to canning supplies, so I was ready to go.
My guide was Janet Chadwick’s indispensible book, The Beginner’s Guide to Preserving Food at Home, which lays out various methods for drying, canning, freezing, brining, root-cellaring and pickling. Her Quick Dill Pickles recipe was just the ticket. Using the four pounds of cucumbers would get me three quarts of pickles, perfect for a single guy.
(Another terrific book for preserving in small batches is Well-Preserved by Eugenia Bone. Stay tuned for a post about her Strawberry Balsamic Jam.)
Sure enough, less than two hours later, I’m the proud owner of my very own dills. The real test is waiting the (at least) two weeks they’ll need to “mellow” in the jar.