Monday, May 28, 2012

Honeymom's Homemade Candied Dill Pickles

If you like sweet pickles at all, you'll love these.  My grandmother (we called her Honeymama) used to make these and whenever she had a jar in the fridge, I was there to mooch 'em.  Nothing better in the world than a longhorn cheese sandwich on whole wheat bread with Kraft Mayo, a slice of fresh tomato still warm from the garden and several candied dill chips.  She taught me how to make them, in self-defense I think, hoping I'd ease up on her supply. 

Oh, and you needed a tall cold Dr. Pepper in the return-for-deposit bottle to go with it. The beauty of candied dills is you almost have to make them yourselves. For some reason pickle makers have never mass produced candied dills for very long, if at all.

Here's what you need to make candied dills:

  • 1 giant jar of cheap hamburger dill pickle chips
  • 1 cup of sugar for each quart of the jar's capacity
  • 1 tablespoon of mixed pickling spice per quart
  • Vinegar (apple cider vinegar works nicely and gives it a unique flavor)
  • Cheesecloth
  • Twine

Here's what you do:

  1. Pour out the pickles into a collander and drain off the vinegar. 
  2. Rinse the pickles with fresh vinegar.
  3. Rinse out the pickle jar.
  4. Put the pickles back in the jar
  5. Pour part of the sugar into the jar. 
  6. Pour vinegar over it to dissolve the sugar.
  7. Alternate sugar and vinegar till the jar is about 3/4 full of vinegar.
  8. Measure 1 tablespoon of pickling spice onto a six inch square of cheesecloth.
  9. Wrap the cheesecloth around the spice and tie the open end securely with string.
  10. Tuck the spice ball down in the pickles
  11. Finish filling the jar with vinegar and the entire amount of sugar
  12. Put the lid back on and shove it to the back of the refrigerator
  13. Put a sign on the jar threatening to chop off the fingers of anyone who gets into the jar without permission.
  14. Shake up the jar every day or two to promote complete dissolving of the sugar on the bottom of the jar.  Open the lid and sniff. It doesn't help any, but it's good for your morale during the curing process. 
  15. Wait at least two weeks for the sugar and spice to permeate the pickles.
  16. About  a week into the process, make another jar or two. You will need them because if the first jar lasts a week I'd be surprised.
  17. Enjoy!
I make my own labels for these.  I wondered why no commercial pickler made candied dills for a long time. Then, I found candied dills made by a small local boutique pickler named "Annies". She sold them through a special display at Brookshire's and charged $7 a pint for them.  I used to buy them when I couldn't wait for a new batch to cure. They are that danged good!


Annie even sells one variety of candied pickles that have jalapenos in them. Those are really good too. I may try a batch of Honeymom's candied dills with a few jalapenos tossed in to give it a little kick. I'll let you know how it turns out.


Tom

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