The Season’s First Dill Pickles

With the heat wave this last week, my dill flowered and I saw pickling cucumbers at the farmers’ market, so I decided to make the first of the season’s cucumber pickles. I didn’t can them because I am conducting an experiment. When my grandmother canned dill pickles, she added powdered alum, which supposedly keeps them crisp. I have read that grape leaves have the same effect. So I picked a couple of grape leaves and added them to the jar. This is a refrigerator pickle, so I used a light (3:1) ratio of water to vinegar, went light on the salt, and added a clove of green garlic from our CSA, a sprinkling of hot pepper flakes and the dill.

Pack the pickling cukes in a 1 ½ quart jar with a bale (I got about 12 in there), adding 2 grape leaves, 4-6 heads of dill flowers with stems, and a sprinkle of hot pepper flakes. Bring to a boil 4 cups of water, 1 1/3 cup of distilled white vinegar (could use cider vinegar), and 2 tbsp salt, stirring until the salt dissolves.  Pour over the pickles and set the jar aside until cool. Refrigerate tightly sealed. The pickles will be ready in about two weeks.

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