This is my second year making crock dills in cooperation with my friend Cathy, who lends me the crocks her grandmother used. The cukes come out of my gardens, as well as the peppers. This year’s dill came from my friend Amy’s garden, and the garlic is Patti’s from Evergreen Farms (certified organic).
The recipe comes from Putting Food By–the little cucumber crock pickle recipe. Because I started later this year (not thinking I was going to make them, and having a friend who had a little crock to fill with the early season cukes), I used the smaller 3 gallon crock this time. The 5-gallon crock was devoted to the Concord grape wine project.
You can actually leave the pickles in the crock and eat them out of it over the winter. But because I split the pickles between Cathy and me, and because it’s just easier to have the jars of pickles on hand, I can them. I sterilize the quart jars and pack them with pickles, then strain the brine and heat it just to boiling before pouring it over the cukes.
I’m generally a bit short of enough fermenting liquid to can all of the pickles, so I add a brine of 3 cups water, 3 cups vinegar, and a third cup of pickling salt to that brine to make sure there’s enough. The vinegar I added this year was 1 1/2 cups each of white and cider vinegar.
Because of the late start this year, and because I was picking those cukes very small like I like them, I only ended up with 9 quarts of pickles this year. But they are gorgeous, and they are tasty. Luckily, I have one quart of last year’s pickles left to eat, and a few leftovers from this batch too before I break into my share of this year’s dilly goodness.