The culinary art of pickling cucumbers is highly popular as evidenced by the quantity and variety of kosher dills, garlic koshers, gherkins, baby gherkins, spears, giant, mustard seed, and spicy, just to name a few. The cucumber is a vegetable that has great flavor and flexibility in a variety of foods, and because it is a summer vegetable, to be able to enjoy its taste and healthful benefits during the rest of the year, you have to preserve it. So thanks to our gourmet conscious and practical ancestors, we have pickles to enjoy.
When planting pickling cucumbers, make sure you have waited until after the risk of frost has passed. The soil needs to be warm enough for the cucumber seeds to germinate and grow properly. It also needs sufficient moisture so that it can grow and multiply in summer. You can even do a second planting of pickling cucumbers mid summer for an autumn harvest which gives you double the opportunity to make and eat delicious home made pickles all year round.
Pickling cucumbers starts with the type and variety of the cucumber itself. There is a Bush Pickle cucumber that takes only 48 days to harvest in the Midwest United States so that you could even grow them yourself for a truly home made experience. Buy the cucumber seed that is either a heritage seed or has not been genetically manipulated or mixed to be a hybrid for the best results. Heritage seeds produce pickling cucumbers and other fruits and vegetables that if left to seed again, can reproduce themselves.
When harvesting for pickling cucumbers, there are a few tips to observe. Decide how big you want your pickles. Traditional dill pickles are 4-6 inches long. However, if you want to make smaller pickles, you can, and if you want a 10" pickle for awesome spears, you can. You just have to make sure that you do not allow the pickling cucumbers to yellow. Remove any older cucumbers that you missed picking so that the younger ones have a greater opportunity to continue developing.
You can eat pickling cucumbers pretty much at any stage as long as you pick them before the seeds grow hard. They are best when they are the same green all over, firm, and crisp. Do not even try to salvage a soft or wilting pickling cucumber. You will only be severely disappointed unless you like soft and mushy Kosher dill pickles. It could even be wilting because of a bacterium that can infect it as a result of an attack of cucumber beetles.
Once you have picked your pickling cucumbers, you are now ready to transform them into the best tasting Kosher Dills you have ever had. For the best results, go to DZ Pickles web site at www.dzpickles.com and order the DZ Pickle Kit. They will send you the special jar, a recipe book, and 3 packets of what makes their pickles the best you have ever had.