It’s can jam time once again friends. I can’t believe I’ve been regularly canning now for the last seven months. At first I was all like, Eek! I have to can something! I’m skeered! Now I’m all like, meh, I can knock some canning out after an evening’s drinking cheap beer to get the taste of a two hour staff meeting out of my mouth! True story!
There have been some highlights from the jam (Herbed garlic ‘shrooms for example) and some lowlights (Let’s not dwell on our failures, am I right pals?). All of this jamming was to prep the jammers for exactly this moment, the moment of bounty. The problem is that in Seattle, we’re a wee bit behind in our bounty moment. My cuke plants have tiny lil’ baby cukes. Which are very cute, especially if you imagine them in top hat, tails and monocle (you know it’s hard to find an image of a novelty cucumber wearing a monocle. All I could come up with are those bible thumping conservative veggies from Veggie tales. Boo hiss!), but not pickleable just yet.
Now I have plans, friends. I’m gonna get a mess of pickling cukes soon and ferment them in several different ways. I had figured that I probably was not going to hot water bath can too many, because I didn’t think I would like them as much—wouldn’t be as crunchy, as sour, as much like the NYC style deli pickles I’ve loved since I first tasted a Claussen, which I still argue is a good substitute in a pinch. I’m wasn’t born and raised in NYC, you see, so I wasn’t running around the Lower East in short pants buying pickles for a nickle out of a wood barrel. I was sorting my Garbage Pail Kids at my grandma’s (who gave us more expensive, and very importantly to me at the time, name brand foods! I was kinda a lil food snob) eating salami and pickles. Ah, childhood.
But then my friend growandresist brought over her jam item, dill relish, and it was delicious. So I was a bit more hyped to try my hand at a canned pickle. I decided on dill pickle chips, as I’ll probably do most of my fermenting of whole pickles. And they turned out pretty awesome. I’ll admit, I winged it on this recipe, as not one in particular floated my boat, and I didn’t have time for a multi-day recipe this time. And…success!
Winging It Dill Pickle Chips
5 lbs pickling cukes
4 cups white wine vinegar
4 cups water
5 Tbsp sugar
½ cup pickling/canning salt (total)
1 medium sized onion, diced very small
2 T dill seed
2 T dill weed
1 T mustard seeds
1 T plus ¼ t turmeric
4 bay leaves
Garlic to your preference—I used about 6 cloves.
- Scrub and wash your pickling cukes. Cut off ends. Slice them into nice pickle chip sized slices.
- Put the sliced cukes into a large bowl with cold water and ¼ c pickling salt and ¼ teaspoon turmeric. Let sit at least 2 hours, but up to 6. I did 2 hours, as it was the evening and I needed to kick back soon. Did I mention I had already celebrated happy hour? Anywho, put a plate on top of the bowl to hold all the chips under the water.
- Make your brine. Dice your onion very small. Add it and all of the above ingredients except the cukes and garlic (vinegar, water, sugar, rest of the salt, and spices) into a medium-sized pot and bring to a boil. Once it’s boiling, keep it on low until you’re ready for it.
- When your canning kettle is boiling, get out your sterilized jars and add garlic to each jar. I sliced each clove and put about 4-5 slices into each jar. If I would have had fresh dill, I would have added it to each jar, and of course used it for the whole shebang. I wasn’t able to come up with any fresh dill this time, but I had plenty of dill seed and dill weed in my brine, so it worked out OK. Obvs, I will use plenty of fresh dill down the road in my further canning and pickling projects.
- Remove the pickles from the soak they took in the bowl. Drain and rinse them.
- Pack the pickle slices into the jars. Really pack them in there. I found that shaking the jar as I added each handful of chips settled them in there. Leave one inch of headspace.
- Ladle the brine into the jar. The onions will really come up to the top, so use a chopstick or tongs to push them back down under the brine.
- Use a paper towel or clean cloth to clean off the rims of your jars.
- Toss your lids into a small pot of hot water. Let them cook for a few minutes. Then place them on top of the jars.
- Hot water bath process for 15 minutes. Go here for instructions on proper hot water bath canning. Don’t be afraid! It’s easy and t’is the season, folks!
- After 15 minutes, remove from kettle and let sit undisturbed for 24 hours.
Taste wise, these turned out great. I did have another minor setback. So far in the jam, I’ve only had one problem. When I was processing my aforementioned canned ‘shrooms, a jar broke in the kettle. This time, I had one jar not seal. I think it’s because of my own laziness. I needed another jar but I didn’t have a final lid sitting in the not quite boiling water, so I tossed a lid into the water at the last second, but only heated it up for probably 15 seconds before using it to seal the last jar that i hot water bath processed. I think either that fact, or the fact that the ring on the unsealed jar was misshapen, caused my problem. So, make sure you fully heat your lids and use only lid rings in the best condition for your canning. You do NOT want all of that work to go to waste. However, the unsealed jar did give me an excuse to taste the pickles right away, and I was really happy with the results. Tangy, zesty, spicy, not sweet, not too salty, and just a little mustardy. Really good!
And, fermentation time is coming! Check this out!