Sometimes, I amaze myself.

Actually, I often amaze myself. Usually it’s in the form of how did I get to be 67 years of age and not know some basic bit of otherwise common knowledge.

Every once in a blue moon, however, the amazement comes in the form of some gastronomic treat where I’m thoroughly amazed that I actually made it.

That gastronomic treat, today, is pickles.

I have pickled many things over the years, from any number of hot peppers to our own version of a giardiniera – but I have never actually made pickles. Until yesterday.

I may have mentioned that we have a cucumber plant in the garden that is taking over.

Cucumbers

It’s huge – and producing cucumbers faster than we can eat them.  There are a half-dozen this size, right now – and that’s not counting the ones I picked yesterday for the pickles.

Cucumbers

We’ve made different cucumber salads, tzatziki, chilled cucumber soup, added them to salads… I had even jarred a few of them in a spicy brine, but they need to be refrigerated. We don’t often eat a lot of pickles – definitely not enough to fill the ‘fridge with them – and they weren’t pickles…

I decided to experiment.

I found a recipe for canning dill pickles online, but it called for fresh dill. I wasn’t heading out into the heat, so I decided to wing it and hope for the best. I got the surprise of my life!

Pickles

Crunchy, flavorful, not sweet but not sour little slices of wonder. I’m actually quite shocked. They’re some of the best pickles I’ve ever eaten. And I made them from a plant that’s taking over the backyard. It truly boggles the mind.

This recipe assumes you understand basic water bath canning. If you don’t, read about it, here.

Dill Pickles

  • 4 large cucumbers, washed and thickly sliced
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 3/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp dried dill per pint jar
  • 8-10 peppercorns per pint jar
  • 1 tsp dried shallots per pint jar

Prepare canning jars. (I used six for this.)

Place water, vinegar, salt, and sugar into a pot and bring to a rolling boil.

Meanwhile, place dill, peppercorns, and shallots into hot jars.

Pack jars with sliced cucumbers to 1/2 inch from rim.

Slowly pour boiling liquid over cucumbers, filling to 1/2 inch of rim.

Carefully slide a thin knife or chopstick into jars to release any air bubbles.

Place lids on jars and screw on rings finger tight.

Place in boiling water canning pot, making sure lids are covered by at least 2 inches.

Process for 15 minutes.

Because I was so amazed at how great the pickles were, I decided we needed hamburgers for dinner tonight. That meant we needed hamburger buns. I found the recipe from King Arthur Flour and used it to make some rather large buns.

Hamburger Buns

In theory, the recipe makes 8 buns. Having made buns before and always getting buns that were too small, I opted for six. Naturally, the recipe would have made 8 large buns instead of the six overly-large buns I made. Live and learn.

Burgers

We don’t eat burgers the way we used to, so these were a treat.

Lots of pickles, tomatoes from the garden, lettuce, onions, avocado, mayonnaise…

Absolute perfection.

The four additional rolls went into the freezer. I’m thinking sandwiches or lunches.

The rolls really were light with lots of flavor on their own.

All-in-all… a very successful day in the kitchen!

Amazing, in fact.

 

 

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