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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Dill Relish

I've been blessed this year with a really phenomenal cucumber season.  I stopped keeping track of the harvest mentally once I got over 60 pounds, I think it was -- so I can't wait to do my end of the month tally to see how many cukes I brought in this year and what their retail value is.

However, one can only eat so many cucumbers fresh, so I have been making gallons of pickles.  While I have primarily focused on making my grandmother's Bread and Butter Pickles, I also searched for a recipe for more of a "side salad" pickle.

Basically, I wanted a pickle that would more closely mimic the fresh cucumber so that it would be easier to just scoop some onto a plate or into a wrap during the winter.  You can easily do this with bread and butter pickles, but the flavor is definite enough that they pair best with more aggressively-flavored foods.  I was looking for something just a touch milder.

This recipe is adapted from the Ball Blue Book of Preserving.  I decided to cube my cucumbers rather than shred them to keep them a better texture, and I used cider vinegar as my base rather than white wine vinegar.  I also used dill weed instead of dill seed for the flavoring.  The result is rather dill pickle-ish, but the sugar and turmeric really smooth out the bite.

Dill Relish
8 pounds pickling cucumbers, cubed
1/2 cup salt
2 t. turmeric
water to cover

1 pound yellow onions
1/3 cup sugar
2 T. dill seed
1 quart cider vinegar

Wash and cube cucumbers and place in a bowl sprinkled with salt and turmeric.  Cover with water and let stand two hours; drain and rinse.

Chop onions and combine with cucumbers and remaining ingredients in a large sauce pot.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.  Ladle into pint jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace, and cap.  Process 15 minutes in a water bath canner.

Makes about 7 pints; the recipe is easily halved for smaller batches
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