Grandma's Dill Pickles

You know Proust's madeleine? My food memory kick start back to childhood is my Grandma's baby dill pickles. No pickle since has ever compared with hers. As a kid, I used to polish off a jar and simply go down to our spooky basement to grab another jar as fast as possible and run back up the stairs to safety before the boogeyman grabbed me. It was a risk worth taking for those perfectly crunchy pickles. That shelf seemed to hold an endless supply of green jars glowing from within. Of course, it wasn't an endless supply. After she died, I've spent all these years dreaming of her pickles, vowing to recreate them using her recipe. And finally, this past weekend, I did.  It was difficult rounding up the right sized cucumbers, since I'm not growing them myself (note to self:  next year grow them myself). The cucumbers from the farmer's market were overpriced and too big, but sometimes you have to work with what is available. My Grandma would have appreciated that. My friend Catherine came over to oversee the project while our husbands wrangled our little boys. We pulled down the 12 quart jars I bought several years ago with this exact project in mind, sterilized them and filled them with the following: 

Dolores Markley's Dill Pickles
Pack Cucumbers and Carrot slivers in jars with:
 ½ Clove Garlic
 Pinch of alum
1 or 2 head of Dill or 3 Tbsp. Dill seed
Pinch of red hot peppers.
Heat to boiling:
         1 C Vinegar (dark)
         3 C Water (unsoftened) enough for 2 quarts
         Scant ¼ C. Pickling Salt
Pour over pickles immediately and seal
(You can put jars in 360 degrees oven for 10 min)
For 9 Qts: 3 qt water, 1 qt dark vinegar, about 1 C pickling salt
½ recipe: 6 C water, 2 C vinegar, ½ C salt

Now the hard part:  we have to be patient for three long months until we get to eat them. But right about Christmas time, we can break them out to share. Grandma, I will make you proud.

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