Open Jar Dill Pickles

Open Jar Dill Pickles are so easy to make and when the first cucumbers of the season are out, this is what my family looks forward to. Grandma always made these dill pickles with whole small cukes and we would start eating them before they even cooled. It sounds gross to eat a warm pickle, but before they cool and are completely turned pickle shade of green, the flavor is something I can't even describe. The cucumber will have turned mostly pickle green, but the inside will still be that cooler shade of green and the flavors really blend in an unusual taste. That is my favorite time to eat them and it's rare that the pickles last long enough to turn a full shade of green in our house. If yours last that long, they're great sliced on sandwiches. Even when they turn completely, they have a really distinctive flavor.

If you don't grow them yourself, get them at your local farmers market, because these really do need to be made from freshly picked cucumbers.

15-20 small cucumbers (2 1/2 to 4 inches long)
fresh dill
5 cups water
1 cup vinegar
1/4 cup canning salt

For this recipe, you must use a glass or ceramic container. Do not use plastic or any other substance because it will affect the taste of your pickles and not in a good way. I use a small crock that I got from grandma but when that's been full, I just use a large ceramic mixing bowl. In your glass container, put a layer of dill, then a layer of cucumbers, alternating until you have no more cukes or your dish is full. Finish with a layer of dill on top.

In a medium size kettle, combine the water, vinegar and salt. Bring to a boil. When it comes to a boil, pour the brine mixture over the pickles, making sure they are completely covered. The dill and pickles will not want to sit on the bottom of the jar, so place a ceramic or glass plate upside down on top of the pickles, and put a weight of some sort on top to keep them down in the brine. Grandma, and now I, use a glass or jar filled with water and set it on top. (I've also seen Grandma use a large, clean rock--whatever works for you.) I try to give them at least an hour before sampling, but I usually can't wait past 30 minutes. If you'd like your pickles completely converted before you sample them, you probably want to wait 4-6 hours, depending on the size of your pickles.

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