If you like old-fashioned fermented sour pickles then you will want to learn this recipe. Real deli-style pickles cost around $7 per jar in my area, but I can make 10 pounds of organic sour pickles for just $20! I did not invent this recipe, but it seems to be the most commonly used methodology out there and it works every time without fail. The pickles are garlicky, crunchy, and delightfully sour.
Many years ago I acquired some beautiful old pickling crocks and I was eager to put them to use. After lugging home a giant bag of fresh cukes, I followed a recipe for pickling them in the crock. It was a disaster. My brine turned into a stinky, moldy mess and the cucumbers turned out soggy. I ended up throwing out the whole batch, discouraged.
Each year, I would see ten-pound bags of pickling cucumbers and a bouquet of dill in the arms of people leaving the farmers? market. Green with envy, I asked the market vendor to please give me some tips on making sour pickles so I could try again. I did my best to remember the recipe and ran home to try it right away. I?m so glad that I did because this is now my go-to pickle recipe that I can?t wait to make year after year.
Makes 10 quart-size jars, adjust recipe accordingly
- 10 pounds fresh-picked pickling cucumbers
- 2/3 cup of kosher salt
- 16 cups of boiling water (non-chlorinated or filtered)
- 8 cups cold water (non-chlorinated or filtered)
- 10 cloves of fresh garlic
- A bunch of fresh, flowering dill
- 5 teaspoons coriander seed
- 5 teaspoons whole black pepper
- 10 chili peppers (optional)
- The key to crunchy pickles is to be sure that you are using very fresh cucumbers. They should go from farm to canning jar in no more tents_2470 than 24 hours and it?s essential to keep them chilled if you aren?t pickling right away. Size doesn?t matter for flavor, just for preference.
- Fill the sink with cold water and wash the cucumbers well. Remove any discolored, bruised, or soft cucumbers. Be sure to get cucumbers that are not waxed.
- To make the brine, bring 20 cups of water to a boil and add 2/3 cup of kosher salt. It?s important to use water that is non-chlorinated or filtered because you don?t want the minerals or chlorine to prevent fermentation.
- Stir the salt to dissolve. Set the brine aside to cool while you pack the jars.
- A cucumber has two different ends, the stem and the blossom end. Cut the blossom end off the cucumbers, or cut off both if you can?t figure it out. You can also slice the cucumbers if you choose. I like them whole.
- Divide the garlic, dill flowers, dill leaves, spices, and optional chili peppers among the jars.
- Pack the cucumbers into the jars tightly, leaving enough headspace that the brine will cover the them. The idea is to pack them into to jar so tightly that they won?t float up when the brine is added. You can also press a cucumber lengthwise across the upright pickles to pin them down.
- Add the cold water to the brine to cool it down more. It should be room temperature before pouring it on the cucumbers.
- When cool, pour the brine over the cucumbers, herbs, and spices. Screw a plastic canning lid loosely onto the jar and set them on a counter to ferment.
- ?Burp? the pickles daily by loosening the cap and letting the air escape, then replacing the lid (loosely) again.
- After three days, check the pickles for flavor. Keep fermenting them on the counter until you get the sourness you like, then move them to the fridge to slow down the process. Consume the pickles within a month.
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Hydrangeas are a beautiful shrub with an old-fashioned appeal, yet they fit into the modern garden seamlessly. Possibly the best thing about hydrangeas is you can enjoy your lovely blooms indefinitely. Here?s how to dry hydrangeas so they keep their color.
With so many varieties, colors, and even bloom shapes, you?d easily be able to (as long as you are lucky enough to have the right climate, of course!). You can enjoy them both on and off the plant too! This is the simple method that I use to dry hydrangea flowers and keep their hue.
Dried Hydrangea Colors
Of course, you won?t retain the same vivid color that you have on the plant while it?s growing in the garden. The color that you can achieve on a dried hydrangea is more of a muted set of greens, grays, blues, pinks, and purples that looks beautiful when displayed together.
The other thing to note is that the climate and temperature that the hydrangea shrub is growing in will affect how much color is retained in the dried flower. It?s not a perfect system, but what is when we?re talking about the climate and weather? Ideally, you are looking for a healthy plant that has been grown in appropriate conditions. You can read more about that in the .
Did you know you can easily change your hydrangea?s blooms from pink to blue (or vice versa)? Here?s how you can .
When to Cut Hydrangeas for Drying
Mother nature and plant care aside, timing when you cut the blooms is the most important factor that you can control. If you leave the hydrangea heads to dry on the shrub they can lose all of their color. If you cut the blooms too early they can wilt (as opposed to dry with the petals retaining their shape).
In order to retain the most color, you will need to let flowers partially dry on the shrub first. , you should start checking on the flowers mid-way through the bloom time. The color will be fading but they will still hold most of their shape, and they will start to take on a papery feel. Try cutting hydrangea blooms when there is still some color remaining to get a dried flower with color that lasts.
How to Dry Hydrangea Flowers
Remove all of the leaves from the stem (or at least the part of the stem that will be submerged) and put the flowers in a vase with an inch or two of water. Place the vase in a cool area, away from direct sunlight. The water in the vase will help to slow the drying process; the bloom will preserve better with a slower transition. Once the water is gone, they will be completely dried and will last indefinitely.
You can touch the preserved hydrangea heads to see how dry they are. They should feel papery.
Dry hydrangea flowers are very delicate, so it is often better to create your craft or dried flower arrangement before they dry. That?s precisely what I did with . I made the wreath with partially dried blooms and allowed the drying process to finish on the front door! See how to make the wreath .