Spicy Dill Pickles

Not all dill pickle lovers are alike. Some like theirs on a burger or sandwich. Others like to cut them up into small pieces and put them in salad spreads such as those that contain tuna or chicken. And finally, there are those who like them all by themselves.

myhotpicklesI fall into the third category. In fact, I can sit down and with a quart of homemade dills and almost polish them off in one sitting. And that’s why we can anywhere from 40 to 75 quarts each summer from cukes that come from our garden We’ve already got about 10 quarts on the pantry shelf so far this year. Our first batch was made July 23, which is a record for the earliest date at our house.

No matter how you like your dill pickles, one thing is for sure. They’re hard to beat. And when it comes to dill pickles, hotter is better in my book. That’s why each summer about half of the dills we put up contain a hot pepper or two.

Following is a recipe for spicy dills that I’ve come to really enjoy, and I think you will, too.

Spicy Dill Pickles
About 100  medium-sized to small cucumbers
1 quart apple cider vinegar (5 percent acidity)
2 quarts water
½ cup canning/pickling salt
½ cup sugar
16 cloves garlic
8 grape leaves
16 hot peppers
Wash cucumbers and rinse well. Wash dill and soak in pickling salt water (this removes bugs) and shake well.
Put dill and a grape leaf in bottom of quart jars with garlic clove. Pack jars with cucumbers. Add ¾ to 1 teaspoon mustard seed and ½ teaspoon turmeric powder. Top with another garlic clove and more dill. Finally add a hot pepper or two. Cover with boiling liquid (vinegar, water, salt and sugar solution), leaving ¼-inch head-space.
Seal with preboiled lids and bands. Put jars (covered) in boiling water bath for 20 minutes. (Start timing as soon as you put in last quart jar.)
Yield: 8 quarts.

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