007 Snap a Dozen Days
Kosher Dills & Bread and Butter
From John's Garden and Tracy's Kitchen
June is pickle month at our house. We are hoping for a bountiful cucumber harvest, so we can make plenty of pickles to eat and give away. John planted two 4' x 8' beds of cucumbers (about 24 plants) this year. He is picking cucumbers daily and so far I've put up six pints of bread and butter pickles and seven quarts of kosher dills. Just after this first round of pickling, we noticed tiny worms on the plants--not a good sign. Let's hope we can get rid of these pests soon, because in just one week they have ruined about 100 cucumbers!
The pickle recipes I'm using are from Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book (1984 edition), but here is one for bread and butter pickles that is very similar. The main difference is that I put the jars in a water-bath for five minutes. I'm surprised this recipe doesn't include that step.
Making pickles is a relatively new venture for me. This is only my second year to try my hand at it, so I'm still experimenting with the ingredients. The first year, the bread and butter pickles were just right, but the dills weren't dill enough or spicy enough for our taste, so this year I really packed in the dill seed, garlic and hot peppers. Hope I didn't overdo it. We'll have to wait at least a week before trying them. The flavor will be much better the longer they sit.
I'm picking up tips here and there. Friends of mine just told me about Pickle Crisp and they even gave me a box to try on the next batch. Another friend shared a tip that's been a great time saver. She told me to put the label on the lid instead of the jar. Since you can't reuse the lids for canning, you don' have to spend time removing the sticky glue that's left when the label is removed. Does anyone have other good tips to share?