August 12th, 2015
How to Dill Pickle ANYTHING
Step One: Jars
Whenever you’re preserving anything, it is super important to make sure your jars are sterilized well. If you have a dishwasher this is easily done by running your jars through a cycle. Alternatively, you can sterilize jars in the oven or with boiling water, but (as you can imagine) each of these have their own safety issues.
Jars can be any size/shape/volume you’d like. Generally canning jars are fairly inexpensive and can be purchased from any grocery store (by the spices) or Canadian Tire/Wal Mart/SuperStore/etc. Jar mouths come in three sizes: wide mouth, gem and standard. It doesn’t matter what size you use so long as you have the right lids/rings to go with them.
*if you’re buying a flat of jars, they will come equipped with rings and lids! If you have jars and just need to purchase lids (or rings) make sure you know what size to get!
There are three components to a canning jar: the glass jar, the ring and the lid. Both the ring and the jar are reusable (provided there are no serious dents or chips out of the glass) but it is best to purchase new lids for each use. This is because the rubber seal on the lids is delicate and once imprinted, won’t make a good seal the next time.
Tip: The key to preserving is heat. The jars, the lids and the brine should all be as hot as possible when you’re canning. This not only creates a great seal on your jars but prevents any bacteria from entering into the process. Once your jars have been sterilized, keep them warm if possible while you prep your produce.
Step Two: Prepping Produce
When you’ve picked out what to pickle, do all the chopping at once so you don’t have to stop between filling jars. This week we’ve grabbed some cauliflower, kohlrabi, carrots and beans to turn into jars of dilled goodness. Chop your produce to whatever size/shape you’d like to fill your jars. If using kohlrabi, remember to peel the skin off first.
Step Three: Brine
If you’re a dill pickle connoisseur, you likely already have your own basic brine recipe you’re in love with, but below is a favourite recipe of our team. Don’t be afraid to adapt and play with your recipe to accommodate different tastes. Experimentation is the name of the game!
- 3 parts water
- 1 part pickling vinegar
- 1/4 part coase salt
- *you can also add pepper to taste*
Yep, it’s that simple.
Decide how many jars you’re planning to fill and adjust the volume of the brine accordingly. Get that on the stove and move on to the next step while it boils.
Step Four: The Spices
Take your still warm jars and put some dill in them. There is no tried and true amount of dill to add as it is completely based on personal preference and jar size, but we recommend using the fronds and heads from a couple stocks.
This is also when you can add other flavours and spices. We like to add some garlic cloves or hot pepper slices or mustard seeds. When adding spices, remember that a little goes a long way. The brine will do it’s work to infuse the produce with the flavours your introduced to the jar.
If you’re using hot peppers remember to wear gloves when slicing them. Trust me, we’ve learned the hard way that pepper oil is really difficult to wash off your hands/eye/tongue/etc.