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Minnesota Cooking: Old Fashioned Homemade Pickles
All Natural Ingredients
This recipe has been handed down once in the past thirty years. But now, I'm handing it down to you, dear reader, and perhaps you will try to make them and will be just as addicted to them as my family.
These pickles used to be made in Red Wing crocks, but I have discovered that you can easily make them in a five gallon pail. You can make a smaller version in an ice cream pail. You can take the same brine and do this same recipe in a glass Mason jar.
It's that uncomplicated.
2 to 4 inch cucumbers
1/4 teaspoon Alum
1 clove garlic
1 hot pepper
1 cup canning salt
3 quarts water
1 quart vinegar
Put dill in bottom of pail. Add grape leaves on top. Sprinkle alum on top. Wash your cucumbers. Stack your cucumbers on end. Sometimes, I get up to four layers of cucumbers in a pail. Then, more dill on the top, more grape leaves on top. Find a sandwich plate and place on top of the grape leaves. The plate helps keep the cucumbers weighted down so they stay under the brine.
Bring the brine to a boil, just enough to completely dissolve the salt. Then, pour into the pail. Put the cover on the pail, loosely. I sat my pail inside a large, black garbage bag, just to keep the dogs from messing with the pail. It takes a couple weeks for the pail to 'work'. The combination of ingredients will ferment and you'll end up with a tangy, salty bunch of cucumbers - just like the women used to make way, back when.
The temperature of the garage was about 85 degrees, and a little cooler at night. That was pretty good for getting the pickles to work.
Five Gallon Pail
Now that you have procured a five gallon pail, or 5 quart ice cream pail, you are now ready to find some ingredients to make some pickles.
The following pictures show pictures of fresh dill heads, picked before there are seeds, but just after the pollen. Fresh grape leaves, picked from a grape vine.
To wash the cucumbers, the easiest way is to put a bath towel in your washing machine, put your cucumbers in the machine, then, put a second towel on top of the cucumbers. Then, put your water temperature on COLD and your speed on Delicate.
Then. Pick your pickles from the machine and place them into the bucket. Stand the cucumbers on end so that more fit. You can make several layers of standing cucumbers. It makes it easier to put more cucumbers in a bucket, plus the brine is better dispersed through the cucumbers.
So. Dill in bottom of bucket. Cover with grape leaves. Add a spoonful of Alum. Then, cucumbers in, then, another layer of dill and finally, a second layer of grape leaves. Find a plate that covers the top of the cucumbers but fits inside the pail.
Pour your brine on the cucumbers.