300+ Quart Jars – Dill Pickles

Some of the  pickles that Chris &
Phoennix canned last year!

     300 + quart jars of pickles — it’s true and we even have the pictures to prove it! But, we can’t take credit for this accomplishment! (What would we do with all those pickles?)
     The project was actually an undertaking of our cousins in Kentucky. Chris and Phoennix Norton spearheaded the venture and Chris noted, “The pickles include cucumbers, okra, green beans and hot peppers.” Although the Norton’s have a notable garden Chris admitted, “We got our veggies from local farmers through the farmers market; we do not have the space to grow enough cucumbers for us to use . . . yet.” He added, “When we first started pickling, it was just Phoennix, Mel, Jazz (Chris’s sister and brother-in-law) and I doing it, but the following year a few more friends joined in because they wanted to learn how to can.”
     The recipe came from Chris’ paternal grandmother (Arletta Norton) recipe. She got the recipe from a friend in Mount Vernon, Ky. — Lara McHargue.
     Originally the recipe called for alum, an ingredient that was believed to help create firm, crisp and crunchy pickles. Because of the health warnings now associated with this ingredient, the Norton’s now use grape leaves and Chris tells me that he recently read that oak leaves have a similar effect (aiding in the crunchiness of the pickles). He also noted, “We are hoping to experiment a little on the amount of salt, trying to lower it without compromising the pickles . . . gotta love blood pressure issues!”  
     Chris shared some of his dill pickles at the recent Clara’s Clan reunion in Kentucky and they were a hit! Barry even suggested that he may take up pickle making  . . . but I have not yet seen any evidence that he will make good on that suggestion!

Dill Pickles    Makes approximately 12 quarts
1.  Boil the brine:       
   8 cups distilled white vinegar
   16 cups water
   2 cups pickling salt (other types of salt may cause a cloudy brine)
2.  Sterilize jars in dishwasher or boiling water.
3.  Sterilize lids in pan of hot water until ready to put on jars
4.  Pack jars (after they are sterilized) with
   Cucumbers, peppers, okra, green beans, etc
   2 to 3 cloves garlic (or more if you like)
   1 lg. or 2 smaller sprigs of dill OR 1 head of dill
        1 to 2 grape leaves – this makes them crunchy
5.  Pour hot brine over packed jars; wipe rim of jar with clean hot cloth. Place lid on jar and seal with screw on ring.
6.  Boil jars in water bath for 10 minutes.
7.  Wait 6 to 8 weeks before opening.
Note: If, after 1 to 2 weeks, there is white settlement, open the jar, pour out brine, rinse veggies with cold water and re-do brine and re-process.
Chris offers some of his delicious cucumber pickles to family members
at the recent gathering of "Clara's Clan" in Kentucky.
 For detailed instructions and guidelines for safe home canning, from jar sterilization to choosing the right canning method (water bath vs. pressure cooking) to testing jar seals, go to the USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning and Preserving.

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