Simple Dill Pickles
|Cucumbers||6 Gallon (3 Pecks, 5 Inches Long)|
|Dill||4 1⁄2 Bunch (450 gm) (Large Bunches)|
|Salt||29 Ounce (Soaked in brine and brine discarded)|
|Cold water||6 Gallon|
|Pickling spices||1 Ounce|
Choose crisp freshly gathered cucumbers and make pickles promptly.
Fresh green dill with well developed seed heads is best.
Do not wash dill, but remove damaged leaves, stems, and roots.
Add salt to water and stir thoroughly making sure that all the salt dissolves.
This produces a 29 per cent brine tested by a saltmeter.
Wash pickles lightly—just enough to remove soil and sand but not enough to remove the natural bloom on the pickles.
(This is important. Swishing them up and down in cold water is usually enough. Even the little black pricks at the top of the warts should not be rubbed off. This glaze or bloom left intact helps to ferment the pickles and keeps them firm. If there happens to be a little dirt left on the pickles, it will slough off in the curing process.) Drain well.
Have a 12 gallon stoneware jar or keg clean.
Put a 1 1/2 to 2 inch layer of dill in the bottom of the jar and press down firmly.
Turn in about one-third of the cucumbers and shake jar to shift them into a compact position.
Sprinkle half the spice over the cucumbers, add another third of the cucumbers and the rest of the spice.
Shake the jar again to shift the pickles and if necessary, use the hands to obtain a compact arrangement.
Add rest of the cucumbers and again shake and arrange.
Add another 1 1/2 to 2 inch layer of dill pressed down.
Pour on the brine.
It should come up over the dill.
Lay a hard wood disc or a heavy plate on top, and over this put a scrubbed clean flint rock heavy enough to keep the plate about an inch below the surface of the brine but not heavy enough to distort the shape of the pickles (about 3 or 4 pounds).
Let the jar stand in a clean, moderately cool place (from 65 to 70 degrees F.).
Cover top with clean cloth to keep out dust and insects.
Do not move the keg for 15 to 18 days.
In 3 or 4 days, a scum will appear on the top of the brine.
Skim off about every 3 days.
If weather gets cold, brine may recede below surface of dill.
If this happens, add cold water to come up to original height.
The dill should always be covered with brine.
It takes from five to seven weeks for pickles to cure thoroughly or until they are firm and translucent all the way through.
These pickles may be eaten as plain dills and may be left in the jar or keg.
Or they may be packed in sterilized jars.
One-fourth cup vinegar may be poured over each quart of of pickles, then filled up with strained brine from jar or keg.