Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Making Deli-Style Dill Pickles: Part One
I decided to make the pickles anyway and I gathered my supplies (see spices, sugar and salt above. I also used organic dill from a local grocer) for both the dills and the cucumber chips. For the dills, I used store bought pickling spice (the lime green bottle above) and for the cucumber chips I used the other spices shown to make my own pickling spice. After chopping up the pickles into 4-inch spears, I added half of the pickling spice (a heaping 1/3 cup) and a large bunch of dill to the bottom of an enamel pot and dumped the sliced spears on top. Ensure that the spears have at least 4-inches of clearance from the top rim of the pot. It's important to use only stainless-steel or unchipped enamelware for all pickling tasks because other types of cooking wear (utensils as well) can cause discoloring of the final pickle products that is unappetizing and can be dangerous.
I created a brine by boiling 1.5 cups of pickling salt, 2 cups white vinegar and 16 cups water and then letting it cool to room temperature after stirring to dissolve all of the salt. Once it cooled, I ladled it over the pickles. Once the pot was full (the pickling brine ran out exactly at the top of the pickles... that's why I love these recipes, they always work out perfectly!) I dumped the other bunch of dill and the remainder of the pickling spice on top. Place an inverted plate on top of the pickles (to keep them all submersed in the brine) and used a filled and sealed mason jar of water on top of the plate to weigh it down. Store it in a cool dark place for approximately 3 weeks (to let them ferment) and skim the surface daily for scum.
Now, five days into dill making, the dills are pretty fragrant when I take the plate off for my daily check (in a good way, just a lot of spice and vinegar!) but no scum that I can see has formed yet. I am waiting for the pickles to become "translucent" and ready to can. I am hoping they will be finished by early August!