Thursday, August 27, 2009

Connie's Sun Dills

Once upon a time, our neighbors across the road had a set of twins, a sweet boy and girl. Those little ones had the nicest babysitter you'd ever want to meet, for their infanthood and the early years after their mom had to go back to work. One summer Connie asked me when we were visiting if I'd ever made Sun Dills. I had to say I never had! I had never even heard of them. But where had they been all my life, they are THAT good! And you never did anything so easy, believe me!

I've got a lot of German in me and was raised on plenty of pickles and kraut (my dad always got the biggest kick out of giving a little one his or her first pickle, he would make a big production out of it and everyone had to watch and we'd all laugh and snap pictures at the first pucker of that little mouth when it tasted that first dill pickle! Needless to say, many of the grandkids LOVE pickles, and I mean LOVE them...some will even DRINK pickle juice when the pickles are all gone, they just tip that jar up and guzzle it!!!! Can you believe that??).

These sun dills just take the cake.

They're easy to make and if you find yourself with an unexpected bumper crop of picklers like we did from our ONE plant, get yourself a big old glass jar (any old kind, just so it's glass AND has a SCREW-ON LID!) and set some pickles out on your deck and watch them cure. All you have to do is turn them each day so they'll be evenly done, and made perfect by the sun.

Then, when they're done, refrigerate them for the crisp, cold dilly perfection that they are and ENJOY!!! These will rival ANYTHING you've got in the deli-refrigerated section anywhere!

These are all ready to set out in the sun tomorrow.

Here's the recipe:

Use clean gallon glass jars

Wash pickles, cut out the bad spots if they have any and wash thoroughly and rinse.
Then, go out to the old fencerow and pick yourself some nice big grape leaves, or call your neighbor or anyone who has 'em growin', tame or wild. You'll need these for color. Wash them and set aside.
Also, go out to the garden and cut some of that fresh dill that seeds itself year after year. Sniff deeply. Then wash and set aside. Sniff deeply again.
(See, it's fun already!)

In the very bottom of the jar, put the first layer: consisting of grape leaves, then dill heads, then 1-3 garlic toes (or more if you like your dills very garlic-y!)

Pack in the clean pickles to the halfway point on the jar, then add another layer of the grape leaves, the dill heads, and the garlic toes. Again, use as much of the dill and the garlic as you like!

Finish packing the pickles in up to the top of the jar. On the very top, you will need to lay grape leaves so they're directly under your lid. (Leave room for the brine to be poured over, then rearrange if you have to so the pickles don't touch the inside of the lid. You want the grape leaves to be on the very top.)

Then, mix 1/2 c. kosher salt
3-1/4 c. white vinegar
and about 5-6 c. water (may take less if they're really packed in there.)

Pour the salt/water/vinegar solution over all the pickles. Cover, and set in the sun. Give the jar a turn each day for one week. Then bring them in and refrigerate them. They last in the fridge for EVER, but they're so good, you won't have to worry about how long they'll last!

ENJOY your sun pickles and let me know how you do if you try them. It's a lot of fun for kids to watch the process and have them go and turn the jar and watch the pickles as they change and "cook" and turn from the bright garden green to perfect pickles!

I'll show you the "cured" jar of pickles a week from now. I wish I could give you all one to taste!




Patty's Stitches said...

I think those are the prettiest pickles I have ever seen in my life. Love your blog!

Parisienne Farmgirl said...

looks really good! I love pickles! Anything is better than lugging out the canner!

Elenka said...

What if there are cloudy days? Or half the day is cloudy? Should it be a certain amount of HOURS in the sun, or does it matter? This looks like fun to do!
(The only grape leaves I know about are in the courtyard of an expensive hotel in Portland. Might have to go in there for a chocolate martini and accidentally nab some grape leaves on the way out! It's a dirty job, but someone has to do it!!)

KathyB. said...

I will, will, WILL be a making these as we have everything required right here. Bumper crop of picklers, lots of grapes, jars, etc. and of course a hankering for good pickles. Thanks.

Twisted Fencepost said...

I just started my second cucumber planting. I have a few weeks before they are ready.
I gotta get busy finding the grape leaves and dill.
My boys will love this!
I'll definitely let you know if I actually get to sun some pickles. tee hee