Bill’s Hot Pickles

Did I say fresh . . .

       Food. Seems as if our thoughts are on food a good part of our waking hours. Planning what to buy,   how to prepare it, eating it, cleaning up afterwards, working with it, and on and on. Food.
 
       But, dang it, food is what we live and survive on and so it’s worth all the time and thought. And now’s the time to remember that good Food makes a great gift.
 
       And so, while there is yet an abundance and variety of fresh food in the markets, and with the Gift-Giving time of the year not too far away, I’ve found a recipe for gift-giving that is perfect. The right time to prepare it, too, for the gift-giving season of the entire year is just two months ahead.
 
       My son WR brought a bottle of these to a family dinner and I knew that when the season rolled around again, I’d be after him for the How Of It All, and make them myself.
 
       I don’t know who first thought of this recipe, but I call it, “Bill’s Hot Dill Pickles” and here’s how he, and I and you can make them.
 
       First get together the different kinds of fresh vegetables (raw) that you like and prepare them into bite size pieces or strips. Bill used tiny carrots, (or cut up the larger ones), small round onions, pepper slices of all colors, cloves of garlic, bite-size pieces of Cauliflower, small fresh cukes (or cut up the larger ones), and keep going. Small green tomatos, as well as small okra pods, are mentioned in the basic recipe, as well.  Fresh.  Crisp.  Did I say fresh?
 
       Make your own choices. and if some don’t appeal to you, leave them out. And if you want more of the others, go ahead. See it’s all up to you. But firm veggies are to be used, and Pint size jars that can be sealed.
 
Make a brine of:
1 cup salt, NEVER USE IODIZED SALT for pickles.
1 quart white vinegar
3 quarts water.
That simple.
 
       Okay, and this is the only half-way difficult part of the job, but sterilize the jars in boiling water, and (using tongs) take bottles from the boiling water. Into the bottom of EACH bottle, put 2 or 3 heads of fresh (did I say Fresh) Dill, (dry can be used if you are desperate), a clove or two of Garlic, one red Hot Pepper, and 1/4 tsp alum.
 
       Fill the bottle with the raw fresh vegetables of bite size pieces, and then fill the bottle with the BOILING BRINE, leaving about 1 inch empty space at the top. Seal immediately with the Ball brand of lids which have the white inner lining. Other Brands are brass color on the inner sides, but experience has shown that the white inner sides are best for vinegar food.
 
       That’s all there is to this marvelous pickle. Let them sit on a shelf and age and age while they get better and better. Ideally, the recipe says you should make them one year, and eat them next, but most families serve them within a month or two. And they are good, but the longer you wait, the hotter and better they get.
 
       Right now would be great ‘making’ time for Xmas ‘giving’ time.
 
       And, if you have any questions ask Bill. He’s the expert on these goodies. I’m only the go-between, but sometimes good go-betweens are handy people to have around.

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       Actually, these are “Willie’s Pickles” as the recipe came from him in about 1975.  Willie was an old-school carpenter who worked for KUTV in those days.

       Also the standard disclaimers apply, be careful with the hot boiling water and get the kids out of the kithen while you are bottling.  Clean everything well but remember this is more like Grandma’s kitchen cooking than the sterilized Vlasic plant.  “Everyone eats a pound of dirt in their life” and most of it is nutritious.  Maybe that’s why these pickles are so good.  Be sure to use the most fresh produce available.

 

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