Today’s grocery stores do pretty much everything for us ahead of time. Staples commonly made at home by generations in the past line commercial shelves for our convenience, but this convenience comes with a price. Many of us have forfeited the pride that comes with doing for ourselves. We have frequented the stores for those simple items for so long that many of us no longer know what to do when we do decide to be more hands on. This is especially true when it comes to cooking. Things like making cheese, bread, and canned vegetables seem like daunting tasks, but they certainly do not have to look that way anymore! Not only are these things easy to do, but cooking for yourself is a great way to stay healthy too. Next time you go to the grocery store pick up a jar of pickles and read the ingredients list and nutritional information. Chances are you will find a couple of impossible to pronounce preservatives and enough salt to dry up the Indian ocean. Why not go back to basics and make these items yourself? In fact, making your own dill pickles is a great place to start! The next time you need a little crunch on your burger and top it with pickles you made yourself, you will feel exceptionally accomplished.
All you need is a few simple ingredients: cucumbers, dill, water, salt, and vinegar. The amounts you need of each depend on how many jars you want to fill. Twelve cups of sliced cucumber should give you enough to enjoy relatively quickly and several jars to save for later. First give the cucumbers a good rinse to get rid of the dirt and any pesticides they might have been sprayed with. Do not peel the skins off. Then go ahead and slice them in rounds. In a large kettle or soup pot, boil 4 cups of water, 1 cup of salt, and 8 cups of vinegar. You can use regular white vinegar or apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar has a slightly sweeter quality to it and gives pickles a nice full flavor, but white vinegar is better for sharper tasting pickles. If you want to you can pop in a couple of cloves of garlic and remove them after the liquid is boiled. As that is boiling, place the cucumber rounds into the jars with the dill. The more dill you put in, the stronger the pickles will be so measure according to taste. Once the pickling juice has come to a boil let it cool for a moment but pour it into the jars while it is still hot. You don’t want your cucumbers to cook and become too soft but heat is important for the cucumbers to absorb the liquid. Once you have poured everything in the jars you are ready to seal them! Wait at least a week or so before serving to give your pickles a chance to soak in all of the flavor. While enjoying the fruits of your labor and impressing everyone with your cooking skills as they exclaim how they could never do it themselves, you can laugh to yourself about how truly simple and easy it is to prepare your own food!