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Half-Sour Pickles

8 c. water
1/4 c. pickling salt
1 gallon small pickling cucumbers
6 garlic cloves
6 dill heads or sprigs of fresh dill
2 Tbsp. dill seeds
2 small fresh or dried hot peppers
2 Tbsp. mixed pickling spices

Combine water and pickling salt in a pickle crock. Stir well to
dissolve the salt.

Wash cukes and remove blossom ends. Drain well. Add the cukes to
the salted water, mixing in the garlic, dill, hot peppers, and
pickling spices with the cukes. Stir gently to distribute the spices
evenly. Cover with a weight to keep the cukes submerged in the
brine. Cover the crock.

Store the crock at 68 degrees F. Check the crock every day. Remove
any scum that forms on the top. The pickles should be "half-sour"
in about 3 days. Taste the pickles. If the results are pleasing,
prepare the pickles for long-term or refrigerator storage.

Pack the pickles in sterilized quart jars. Pour the brine into a
nonaluminum pan and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes. Cool to
room temperature. Pour the cooled brine over the pickles, seal the
jars and store in the refrigerator. (See note below.)

Because of the relatively low salt concentration in the brine, the
pickles spoil easily if they aren't refrigerated after a week.
Don't use this recipe if you are looking for a very sour pickle.

Yield: 4 quarts

You know when the fermentation process has gone well when the
fermentation begin within a day or so of combining the ingredients
in the crock and lasts about as long as the recipe specifies. The
brine will be clear and tasty, not cloudy or slightly funky tasting.

If the pickles taste good and have a good firm texture, but the
brine is slightly cloudy, drain off the brine (reserving it)and
strain out the spices. Bring the reserved brine to a boil and cool
to room temp. Pack the pickles into clean quart jars. Add fresh
spices. Pour the cooled brine over the pickles and refrigerate.
These pickles will keep for at least several months.

If you want to process the pickles for long-term storage, drain
off the brine (reserving it). Strain out spices. Bring the reserved
brine to a boil in a nonaluminum saucepan. Pack fresh spices and
the cukes into hot sterilized jars.

Pour the hot brine over the pickles, leaving 1/2 inch head space.
Process in a boiling water bath or steam canner for 5 minutes.
Adjust seals if necessary. Let cool for 12 hours, then check seals.
Store any unsealed jars in the fridge. Label and store the jars in
a cool dry place.

Processing does take away a little of the crispness of the the
pickles. Obviously, its major advantage is that the jars need not
take up valuable refrigerator space.


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