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Pickles by the Bushel

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ready in: over 2 hrs
serves/makes:   40 qts

recipe id: 5213

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1 Bushel pickling cucumbers (yields 40 to 45 Quarts)
1 gallon Heinz Distilled 5% acidity Vinegar
3 gallons tap water
2 cups Mortons canning & pickling salt
6 large bunches of ripe dill (just starting to seed at the top)
Dried hot red peppers (OUCH! Optional)
cloves fresh crushed and peeled garlic
1 grape leaf for each quart
1/4 teaspoon powdered alum per quart


Fill kitchen sink with half water and one pint of grapefruit juice. Scrub cucumbers in the sink, cut out blemishes and abnormalities with a paring knife. The grapefruit juice helps to clean chemicals and human diseases that may have attached from the people picking the pickles. ??? - That is news to me, Nita.

In the bottom of sterilized quart jars place a pepper (optional -- Use only if you want HOT pickles), 1 to 3 cloves of crushed and peeled fresh garlic, and half of the grape leaf Or, 1/4 tsp powdered alum, then pack the cucumbers as tightly as possible without breaking them. Leave about an inch at the top of the jar, put the other half of the grape leaf (omit if using powdered alum) and 1 or 2 more cloves of crushed and peeled garlic (make sure you stuff it in so it doesn't come to the top and break the seal). At this point you can also add the stalks of dill to further pack your jar.

Mix vinegar, water, and salt to make a brine and bring the brine to a boil. In a smaller sauce pan boil your lids in water (the rubber on the lids will swell and help to insure a good seal). Pour the brine into the packed pickle quarts and wipe the rim of the jar. Pull the lids out of the boiling water with a fork, place on top and secure the lid with the ring. Place the jars at least 2 inches apart for them to pop down (when they pop down you will hear it, that means your jar has sealed). Let the jars sit undisturbed for 24 hours. Wait 6 weeks to open and enjoy. I have adjusted this for use without grape leaves. Also I increased the amount of and changed garlic cloves to crushed and peeled.

The original of this recipe is said to have won the Adams County fair in Colorado 1999.

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