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|FERMENTED DILL PICKLES|
These authentic old-fashioned style pickles have all the flavor of those pickle-barrel treats from long ago. Use the following quantities for each gallon capacity of your container.
4 lbs of 4-inch pickling cucumbers
2 tbsp dill seed or 4 to 5 heads fresh or dry dill weed
1/2 cup salt
1/4 cup vinegar (5%)
8 cups water and one or more of the following ingredients:
2 cloves garlic (optional)
2 dried red peppers (optional)
2 tsp whole mixed pickling spices (optional)
Wash cucumbers. Cut 1/16-inch slice off blossom end and discard. Leave 1/4-inch of stem attached.
Place half of dill and spices on bottom of a clean, suitable container (see page 6-1). Add cucumbers, remaining dill, and spices.
Dissolve salt in vinegar and water and pour over cucumbers. Add suitable cover and weight. Store where temperature is between 70°F and 75°F for about 3 to 4 weeks while fermenting. Temperatures of 55 to 65°F are acceptable, but the fermentation will take 5 to 6 weeks. Avoid temperatures above 80°F, or pickles will become too soft during fermentation. Fermenting pickles cure slowly. Check the container several times a week and promptly remove surface scum or mold.
Caution: If the pickles become soft, slimy, or develop a disagreeable odor, discard them. Fully fermented pickles may be stored in the original container for about 4 to 6 months, provided they are refrigerated and surface scum and molds are removed regularly.
Canning fully fermented pickles is a better way to store them. To can them, pour the brine into a pan, heat slowly to a boil, and simmer 5 minutes. Filter brine through paper coffee filters to reduce cloudiness, if desired. Fill jar with pickles and hot brine, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Adjust lids and process pint jars for 10 minutes and quart jars for 15 minutes in a boiling water bath.
Altitude Adjustment: At altitudes over 1000 feet above sea level, add an additional 5 minutes; above 6000 ft, add 10 more minutes.
Note: These pickles may be processed for 30 minutes in a boiling water bath of 180°F which results in pickles which are crisper and have an improved texture.
To process using this low temperature pasteurization method, place jars in a canner filled half way with warm (120 to 140°F) water. Add hot water to the canner until water is 1 inch above the jars.
Bring the temperature up and maintain a constant water temperature of 180°F to 185°F for 30 minutes. Use a candy or jelly thermometer to be certain that the water temperature is at least 180°F during the entire 30 minutes. Temperatures higher than 185°F may cause unnecessary softening of pickles.
Source: Adapted from USDA
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