Jennie’s Blue Ribbon Dills

I can hardly think of a more satisfying sight than a table that’s full of a batch of freshly canned dill pickles. And anyone who would step into our kitchen today would be able to see what I mean.

This afternoon, Therese and I canned 35 quarts of pickles, using a recipe that I obtained from Cindy Healey of Grand Forks. The recipe for Jennie’s Blue Ribbon Dills was an award winner at the Minnesota State Fair for Cindy’s mom — Jennie Weiss of Fargo — several years ago.

I went through several dill pickle recipes over the years before settling on Jennie’s. They’e become a favorite of my family, and I always will be grateful to Cindy for sharing the recipe.

Jennie’s Blue Ribbon Dills
About 100  medium-sized to small cucumbers
1quart apple cider vinegar (5 percent acidity)
2 quarts water
½ cup canning/pickling salt
½ cup sugar
16 cloves garlic
8 grape leaves
Wash cucumbers and rinse well. Wash dill and soak in pickling salt water (this removes bugs) and shake well.
Put dill and a grape leaf (my preference, not Jennie’s) in bottom of quart jars with garlic clove. Pack jars with cucumbers. Add ¾ to 1 teaspoon mustard seed and ½ teaspoon turmeric powder. Top with another garlic clove and more dill. Cover with boiling liquid (vinegar, water, salt and sugar solution), leaving ¼-inch head-space.
Seal with preboiled lids and bands. Put jars (covered) in boiling water bath for 20 minutes. (Start timing as soon as you put in last quart jar.)
Yield: 8 quarts.

Never In A Pickle

I’ve come to that conclusion that a person can never have too many pickle recipes.

While people who know me will tell you that is not a big revelation to them, I just wanted to share this with the others who love pickles and are wondering how they can feed their "pickle addiction." The answer is whenever someone offers to share a recipe for pickles, take them up on it.

I recently picked up a couple of recipes that in a way look similar to some we already have but with a twist or two.

I found the first in one of the Farmer’s Wife cookbook series that is put out by MBI Publishing Co. and Voyageur Press (www.voyageurpress.com/), an imprint of MBI in Minneapolis. It’s for a 14-day sweet pickle, which I plan to share in an upcoming column on the Herald food page (www.grandforksherald.com/event/tag/group/Features/tag/food/).

The second recipe is from Marilyn Fuher of Grand Forks. It’s for refrigerator pickles. I already have a couple of refrigerator pickle recipes, but this one looks a little different. Check it out, along with another for bread and butter pickles from the people at Better Homes and Gardens.

Refrigerator Pickles
12 cups unpeeled and sliced cucumbers
2 pounds sliced onions
1 large green pepper, chopped
1/3 cup salt
1 large jar chopped pimentos
3 cups sugar
2 cups white vinegar
1 teaspoon celery seeds
Mix cucumbers, onions and pepper with the salt. Let mixture stand for 1 hour and then drain. Add the pimentos. In a large pot, mix the sugar, vinegar and celery seed and heat. Pour over vegetables and mix. Pack into jars and refrigerate. Pickles will keep for months.

Classic Bread and Butter Pickles
12 cups ¼-inch slices small pickling cucumbers (about 4 pounds)
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
6 tablespoons kosher or pickling salt
4 to 5 cups crushed ice
3 cups granulated sugar
3 cups cider vinegar
2 tablespoons mustard seeds
2 teaspoons celery seeds
4 ¼-inch slices unpeeled fresh ginger
In a large bowl gently toss the cucumbers, onions and kosher salt. Transfer to colander set in extra-large bowl, layering with ice, and finishing with a layer of ice. Weight with heavy plate. Chill overnight, up to 24 hours.
Meanwhile, for pickling syrup, in large nonreactive (stainless, enamel, or nonstick) saucepan combine sugar, vinegar, mustard seeds, celery seeds and ginger. Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Cool, cover, and refrigerate until ready to proceed with recipe.
After cucumbers have chilled, remove any unmelted ice and discard any liquid in bowl. Transfer cucumber mixture to nonreactive Dutch oven.
Strain syrup through a large sieve lined with cheesecloth over cucumbers. Bring mixture just to a low boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
With a large spoon, transfer cucumbers to hot sterilized pint canning jars, leaving ½-inch headspace. Bring syrup in Dutch oven to boiling. Ladle hot syrup over pickles to cover. Wipe jar rims with damp cloth. Put on lids and screw bands. To seal, invert jars until cool. Store in refrigerator.
Yield: 5 pints (40 ¼-cup servings).
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 38 calories, no fat, no cholesterol, 291 milligrams sodium, 9 grams carbohydrates, no fiber, no protein.