This is the year I learned how to can. I decided this would be the year mostly because our freezer is full (I think I might go buy another one today). I told my mom, my best friend, my gym buddy, and Raj. I would do it this year: learn to can.
I poured over the internet, bought a few jars and some fruit and dove in. I started with some boozy cherries inspired by this great blog; if they didn't seal I could console myself by eating whiskey soaked fruit. Win. They all sealed, foiling my drunky-plan.
I was standing at the farmers market one Saturday looking at the pickling cucumbers. I was running through in my head: I don't need a pressure canner, I have lots of garlic and dill… will I have the time and motivation to make paleo dill pickles? I need a recipe, and I have jars. hmmm….
I didn't realize the guy at the stand was staring at me. I snapped out of my bubble and he asked if I needed help (I guess for the second or third time). No… Maybe? I just wasn't sure I would have the skill and the time. We chatted for a bit and he convinced me 10 lbs wasn't that much. He believed I could do it. Alright. I added the box of baby cucumbers to my pile and hauled it back to the car. A stranger believed in me and made a sale.
I had 10 glorious pounds of potential paleo dill pickles; and no idea how. Thank goodness for Raj's mom and Cherise. Both came thru with recipes for me. Thanks to my mom and dad for finding me jars. And thanks to my roommate who has been monumentally patient about the boxes of jars and pots and fruit all over the kitchen. I feel confident now doing fruit and have some fall fruit plans, yummy pears, and apples, maybe even pumpkin; although I believe I will need a pressure canner.
It's official, I have a new hobby: canning.
You may be asking what makes these dill pickles “paleo”? Little did I know before reading every food label in my grocery cart, dill pickles purchased often have added sugar. One recipe I substituted the sugar with honey, which made a sweet dill- more like a bread and butter pickle. Both are good.
Scary how many things have sugar in them, even savory items that you wouldn't expect, sneaking into nearly everything! I have heard that more than 80% of processed foods have added sugar. I am excited to watch Fed Up (recently out on DVD), a movie that touches on the effects of sugar and health. Have you been surprised to find sugar in a food item you didn't expect? Please share them in the comments below.
A couple notes: everywhere was sold out of pickling salt when I went to make these and used sea salt instead. It seemed to work fine. The difference is dissolution rate and weight. So I used slightly more and had to stir a little longer until it dissolved into the brine.
What the heck is pickling spice and do I really need it? No, you don't- well maybe… it's up to you. I needed so little that I purchased mine from the bulk food store. In the future, I think I will make my own.
Have these with Paleo Tuna Salad.Print
Tart and Dilly, these are classic dill pickles with no added sugar.
- 5 lbs pickling cucumbers
- 8 cups water
- 2 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 2/3 cup sea salt
- 6 sprigs of dill
- 6 small cayenne peppers (optional, the original recipe called for red pepper flakes, a pinch in each jar)
- 12 cloves of garlic peeled
- 6 jars, quart size with lids
- Take cucumbers, wash and put in an ice bath in the fridge overnight (Crisp cucumbers make crisp pickles- no one likes a soggy pickle).
- Wash and sterilize jars. Place 2 peeled cloves of garlic, one cayenne pepper (or a pinch of red pepper flakes) and a sprig of dill in each jar (if you like it spicy make a slice in the pepper).
- Combine water, vinegar, and salt and bring to a boil.
- Pack the pickles into the jars, careful not to bruise them but you want the jars full or you will run out of the brine.
- Once the brine has boiled and salt has dissolved, pour over packed jars, and lid right away.
- Place in large pot and immerse in boiling water and boil for 15 min.
- Remove and let cool on a thick towel. You will hear the lids pop as they seal. Any non-sealers need to be refrigerated and used right away.
Slightly sweet classic dill.
- 5lb pickling cucumbers
- 6 cups water
- 2 cups vinegar
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/3 cup sea salt
- 1tbsp pickling spice
- 6 sprigs of dill
- 12 cloves of garlic
- 6 jars, quart size with lids
- Take cucumbers, wash and put in an ice bath in the fridge overnight (Crisp cucumbers make crisp pickles, no one likes a soggy pickle).
- Wash and sterilize jars, place 2 peeled cloves of garlic and a sprig of dill in each jar.
- Combine water, vinegar, pickling spice and salt, bring to a boil.
- Pack the pickles into the jars, careful not to bruise them but you want the jars full or you will run out of brine.
- Once brine has boiled and salt has dissolved, pour over packed jars, and lid right away.
- Immerse in boiling water and boil for 15-20 min or until they turn slightly yellow.
- Remove and let cool on a thick towel, you will hear the lids pop as they seal. Any non-sealers need to be refrigerated and used right away.