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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)

Procedure:

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 70F and 75F for about 3 to 4 weeks while fermenting. Temperatures of 55 to 65F are acceptable, but the fermentation will take 5 to 6 weeks. Avoid temperatures above 80F, 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 180F 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 140F) 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 180F to 185F for 30 minutes. Use a candy or jelly thermometer to be certain that the water temperature is at least 180F during the entire 30 minutes. Temperatures higher than 185F may cause unnecessary softening of pickles.

Source: Adapted from USDA
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