Alisa Opar
Published: 12/22/2009

I have very fond memories of canning from my childhood. Well, maybe not the heat radiating off the stove from the boiling pot of water in the late summer. I did enjoy picking raspberries in my grandmother’s backyard to make jam, and I relished cracking open a jar any time I had a hankering for homemade dill pickles. In my adulthood, I haven’t done any canning, but after attending a canning and fermenting seminar at the NYC Climate & Food Summit last week, I’m excited to take it up again. What better way to eat local year round? Not to mention the cash I’ll save buying fruits and veggies in bulk. Now I just need to find a place to stash the jars in my tiny New York apartment…under the bed?

Here’s a video of the extremely entertaining Classie Parker, a professional canning consultant and community gardener, demonstrating how fast, easy, and fun it is to make her delicious garlic dill pickles (recipe below). While cucumbers are out of season (at least in the Northeast right now), if you’re looking for a thoughtful last-minute Christmas present, these crisp, tangy pickles are sure to be a hit. When it comes to canning, the more the merrier, so invite your friends over and have a canning party.

Classie’s Garlic Dill Pickles

Makes 4 pints (you can usually buy Mason jars at your local hardware or kitchen supply store)

Pickling solution:?
1 cup white vinegar (cider and balsamic vinegar are also delicious)
3 cups water
2 teaspoons kosher salt

8 cups of cleaned vegetables and herbs, including garlic, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, chilies, dill, pickling spices

Wash jars in hot soapy water and then place on rack in simmering water (for a make-shift rack, use screwcaps tied together with twist-ties). Bring pickling solution to a boil. Slice vegetables or leave whole. Remove hot jars and place on clean towel. Pack tightly with vegetables. Pour pickling solution in, leaving half an inch of headspace. Put on tops with lids and tighten caps. Place in boiling water for 20 minutes. The lids will ‘pop’ when they cool (within 24 hours), letting you know that they’re vacuum-sealed. Let sit for 30 days before eating.