RMAFD'S COLD-PACKED POLISH DILL PICKLES
4 lb Pickling cucumbers
1 c pickling salt
8 ea dill heads
1-1/2 t crushed red pepper, up to 3 t
6 ea cloves of garlic (or more)
4-1/2 t whole mustard seed
8 c water
1 t alum, optional (we don't/haven't used this)
2 c white vinegar
Wash and dry the cucumbers; prick a few holes in each with a fork, or quarter them lengthwise. Peel and break the garlic cloves. It is easiest to cut the cloves with a sharp knife into thin slices or small chunks.
Place half of the dill heads in the bottom of a clean 1-gallon jar. Add the garlic, crushed red pepper, and mustard seed. Pack loosely with cucumber and top with the remaining dill. Refrigerate while preparing brine.
Combine water, vinegar, and salt in a saucepan. Heat to boiling, then cool to room temperature. Pour the cooled brine over the cucumbers, making sure they are covered. Screw a lid on the jar and store in the fridge for about 4 - 6 weeks before serving. If you've quartered the cucumbers instead of leaving them whole, they will be ready somewhat sooner (two or three weeks instead).
Ingredients can also be divided between four 1-quart wide mouth jars. It is it more convenient to make a gallon jar batch (takes less of a footprint in the refrigerator) and then divide up the pickles later into separate jars when they're ready to eat. (That frees up the jar for the next batch, too)
OPTIONS, PERSONAL TASTES AND MODIFICATIONS
A great garlic pickle results from deletion of the dill heads. The dill heads are not necessary for an excellent pickle.
The addition of a small amount of alum (1 tsp.) makes a marked improvement in the flavor of the pickles. I recommend the addition highly.
For hot dill pickles, increase the pepper flakes to 2 or 2 1/2 tsp. Cut the cucumbers in 1 inch slices instead of length wise for identification purposes.
This pickle has a pronounced mustard flavor when pickling is complete. Reduce the mustard seed to 2 tsp if desired . This produces a pickle closer to those found in the stores.
The following can be added. 6 to 8 whole pepper corns, 3 to 4 mace heads and ½ tsp. whole coriander. Other spices can be used. Do not use pickling spice mixes bought in stores. These are meant for sweet pickles.
On 8/22/98 we put up about 30 gallons of pickles using 2-1/2 bushels of #4 pickles, 4 gallons of vinegar, 10#s of salt, 20 heads of garlic,6 lg bunches of fresh dill, 30 oz or 850 grams of mustard seed, and appx 8 oz of crush red pepper. Each gallon of pickles consumes appx. 11 cups of pickle brine. 1 - 3 oz bottle of mustard seed yields appx. 21 tsp. This year we heated up the vinegar, dissolved the salt, then added the cold water. The ratio of water to bine is 1 quart of water to 1 cup of vinegar/salt, making 5 cups of liquid. The above recipe has been changed to reflect our taste in pickles. We seem to like the heavy mustard flavor. We also use a lot of garlic and dill. The crush red is the basic recipe. I hope you enjoy.
Submitted by Bill Mclaughlin
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