What’s that smell? Oh, it’s vinegar.

Confession: I really like vinegar.

Where most people grimace at the smell, it actually makes my mouth water. Which, yes, I know it is weird, but it dates back to the time when I would grab a bag of vinegar and salt chips from the Country Store in Garvin. When I was older, I helped my grandmother make her famous dill pickles, which only furthered my love of vinegar and all things salty. If you have ever helped anyone can pickles, you know the smell I am talking about. It lingers for a day or two, but the results are so worth it. Vlasic ain’t got nothing on homemade pickles.

So if you have some extra cucumbers around the house, you might as well make a batch of pickles. I’m serious. It’s easy and you will thank me in six weeks when you are eating their salty goodness.

You’ll need:

  • A mason jar of your choosing, although I think the wide-mouth variety are best for pickles
  • Jar seals and ring lids (found in the canning aisle of your local Wal-Mart)
  • Cucumbers
  • Other add ins, like dill, garlic, peppers, etc. Get crazy!
  • 6 cups water, plus extra for boiling the seals
  • 1-1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup of canning or kosher salt

First put your freshly washed cucumbers in the jars you will be using. You can slice them, spear them, leave them whole, or whatever floats your boat. You want to make sure that they are packed in the jar pretty tight, but that you leave about half an inch of space from the top. You can add fresh dill, garlic, or peppers to give your pickles their own special zing. Just play around until you get the right amount of stuff to suit your taste. Personally, I think the dill is a necessity. The more the better!

Put the seals of the jars seal-side up in about two inches of water and bring it to a boil. After it stars boiling, reduce the water to a simmer and let it alone until the jars are full.

Mix your water, vinegar and salt in a large pot and bring to a boil (this will make 2-3 jars of pickles, but you can double or halve the recipe as needed. Just make sure the ration stays the same). When the mixture is boiling and piping hot, use a ladle and a funnel OR a measuring cup with a spout to pour it into the jars and over the cucumbers. Use the tongs to put the seal on the jar and screw the lid on as tight as humanly possible. The jars will eventually seal themselves, and six weeks later, you will have your very own jar of pickles to enjoy throughout the summer season.

Hope y’all enjoy the McDaniel family recipe for pickles. Sorry, but I left out one secret ingredient to extra crunchy pickles, but only people in the family are allowed to know 🙂


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