Put Cucumbers in Their Place
Summer is the season for pickles, and it's time to make them whether they're sweet or sour.
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This time of year, cucumber vines ramble through gardens, and it's a chance to get into a pickle.
Pick cukes while they are young. For pickling, use the unwaxed, smaller varieties grown for that purpose, not the slicing variety of cucumbers often sold in supermarkets.
Most food scientists now say pickles should be processed in a water bath for safety or store jars in the refrigerator. Today's kosher dill pickles do not call for a water bath. To avoid risks, however, place the jars in a water-bath canner for 10 to 15 minutes.
Sandy Bailey of Carrollton, Texas, has passed along to her daughter, Chrystal Bailey Talbott, a recipe for dill pickles that came from Sandy's mother, the late Lorene Martin. Actually, it has been a family recipe for five generations, Sandy says.
Kosher Dill Pickles
2 to 3 cloves garlic
1 hot red pepper (small to medium)
1 tsp. dill (1 head fresh)
2 quarts water
1 quart vinegar
1 cup pickling salt
Prepare about six quart canning jars and two-piece caps (lids and screw bands) according to manufacturer's instructions or sterilize jars, lids and rings by submerging them in boiling water. Remove with tongs. (Number of jars may vary, depending on how many and size of cucumbers.)
Wash cucumbers in cold water. Pack small whole pickling cucumbers in jars, or cut slices or spears if using larger cucumbers. Add garlic cloves, hot pepper and dill to jars.
Mix water, vinegar and pickling salt and bring to a boil. Fill jars with the hot vinegar mixture almost level to top of jar (covering cucumbers). Wipe the top of the jar with a clean wet rag. This will remove salt residue from spills and prevent interference with the seal. Place seal and ring on the jar and tighten. Let the jars stand for about 30 minutes and retighten the rings on the jars. Wipe the jars with a wet rag before storing.
Store in an area where the jars will not be disturbed. It is normal for lids to pop when the jars are sealing. Tighten the lids again after they pop.
Sweet Pickles Out of Dill
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. celery seed
1 tsp. mustard seed
1 tsp. garlic chips
1/2 gallon dill pickles
Mix sugar, celery seeds, mustard seed and garlic chips together. Drain dill pickles; slice pickles into a jar and layer with sugar mixture.
Refrigerate and shake often for three days.
Fried Dill Pickles
1 egg beaten
1 cup milk
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
5 to 6 drops hot pepper sauce
2 cups plus 1 Tbsp. flour (divided)
salt, pepper to taste
vegetable oil to deep-fry pickle spears
1 jar (32 ounces) dill pickle spears
In a bowl, mix the egg with the milk, Worcestershire sauce, hot pepper sauce and 1 Tbsp. flour. Add salt and pepper.
In another bowl, season the remaining 2 cups of flour with salt and pepper. In a deep fryer or deep skillet, heat the oil to a depth of about 3 inches to 375 degrees (medium-hot).
Dip pickles first into the flour mixture, then into the egg mixture, then again into the flour mixture. Fry in hot oil until golden brown.
Makes 12 servings of two to three spears per person.
This potato gratin recipe serves up the perfect comfort food for two.