As you probably know (if you actually read my blog- do people do that anymore?), and as you can probably tell, I’ve been “canning” for awhile now. Yes- I’m one of those insufferable people who doesn’t buy Mason jars for crafting or wedding centerpieces, but for their actual purpose: preserving food.
What a snob!
And through all of this canning trial and error that I’ve done over the past 5 years, I’ve discovered some things. I’ve made A LOT of pickles. Tons. Even before I grew my own cucumbers I made jar after jar after jar each year. Pickles are best in pint or quart jars (unless they’re bread & butter pickles, you can cram them into some 8-oz. jars or even some Collection Elite® “squat” pint jars if need be). I prefer quart/pint jars with a shoulder to keep the cukes down in the jar and not floating up too high. And that the prettiest pickles are made in the new green limited edition “Perfection” jars!
I bought a case of the Ball® quart sized green Heritage collection “Perfection” jars specifically because I knew they’d be perfect (no pun intended) for pickling. They were hard to find near me- which is odd, because I was able to get the blue and purple ones just fine! So I ordered them on freshpreserving.com. I also ordered some plastic screw-on lids because Jay’s favorite pickles are fermented Kosher dills that don’t get processed, so why waste the two-piece lids?
These jars are very cool, and have tons of history behind them.
New for 2014, these limited-edition Heritage Collection green mason jars celebrate the 100th anniversary of the “Perfection” jar. These vintage mason jars are made in the USA and are available in two sizes in a period-inspired spring green color. With custom-embossed logos on the front and back and vintage-inspired packaging, these green jars maintain all the standards of quality and reliability of modern-day canning jars. Perfect for all home-canning needs, décor, crafting, or as collector’s items. Available as regular mouth pints and wide mouth quarts.
Quick Facts About The Perfection Jar
- Celebrates the 100th anniversary of the original “Perfection” jar by the Ball Brothers
- Second year of a multi-year limited edition series
- Maintains same quality, performance and structure as current canning jars
- Jars are made of colored glass (not painted), making them food-safe.
History Behind The Perfection Jar
- Perfection was introduced in 1914
- Perfect Mason, Perfection and Improved jars came from a common set of mason jar molds
- On the base of many Perfection jars reads the patent dates of April 10, 1900, or April 26, 1907
- Original half-pint Perfection jars are extremely rare
I also collect vintage Mason & Lightning jars, so for me these limited edition jars are super cool. I have the blue “Perfect Mason” and purple “Improved” Heritage colors as well (you can see the purple ones here!) and I just love them.
I’ve made these a million times before and the recipe is all over the blog, but I really wanted to do some unique pickles in these jars to christen them. So here we are again with one of the favorite recipes on the blog: Whiskey pickles, version 3.0! Ever so slightly different than versions 1.0 and 2.0, still delicious.
I made these into chips because it’s summer, and Jay likes to put pickles on his burgers and hot dogs. They work just as well in spears or whole (if you have those adorable super small pickling cukies). Do what you like!
MARILLA’S IMPROVED & PERFECTED SUPER AWESOME MAPLE-WHISKEY OR WHISKEY SOUR PICKLES
MAKES ABOUT 2 QUARTS or 4 PINTS, RECIPE CAN BE DOUBLED OR TRIPLED OR HALVED IF NEEDED
- 8-10 small pickling cucumbers (about 1- 1 1/2 pounds) *
- 1 cup white vinegar
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup good quality whiskey
- 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
- 1/4 – 1/2 cup PURE maple syrup; depending on how maple-y you want ’em (*OPTIONAL, for “maple whiskey pickles” variant)
- 2 large heads fresh dill, OR 2 sprigs of fresh dill PLUS 1 heaping teaspoon dill seeds, divided
- 2 teaspoons pickling spice
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard seed
- 10 black peppercorns
- pinch of hot pepper flakes/one dried pepper/or one small Serrano chili pepper, finely diced (per jar) – *OPTIONAL
- 2 cloves garlic
- a few slices of onion (“rings”)- *OPTIONAL
- Cut a thin slice from the ends of each cucumber. This prevents a “mushy” pickle, as the blossom ends of cucumbers contain an enzyme that makes them mushy. Then slice cucumbers as you like- slices, spears or sandwich-size; or leave them whole if they’re small enough. Place jars in canner to sterilize them if you’re not canning them. Otherwise just keep them hot and clean.
- Meanwhile, combine vinegar, water, and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove hot jars from canner. Pour 1 tablespoon PURE maple syrup and 1/4 cup whiskey in each jar. Divide evenly the heads of fresh dill and/or 1 heaping teaspoon dill seeds, onion (if using), pickling spice, the mustard seed, black peppercorns, peppers or pepper flakes (if using) and 1 clove of garlic amongst each jar; pack in cucumbers tightly.
- Pour boiling vinegar/water mixture over cucumbers to within 1/2 inch of rim (head space). Place lids & bands. Process 10 minutes for pint jars and 15 minutes for quart jars. Or just pop the lids on and let cool, then pop in the fridge for immediate “fridge pickles.”
- Allow jars to sit for at least one week before opening for optimal flavor, but no one will kill you if you crack one open early.
* or regular cucumbers if you’re going to slice them into chips. I usually use Kirby’s myself; unless I’m using ones I’ve grown in the garden. Those are usually a Burpee pickling/hybrid variety. Just don’t use the large waxed ones! Persian cucumbers are okay, not perfect but they’ll work.
You can also skip the whiskey altogether and just add maple syrup for a maple dill pickle.
The history behind these pickles is two-fold: one, I saw that Brooklyn Brine made something called “whiskey sour” pickles and I knew Jay would LOVE them, but why pay $14.95 for a jar of pickles when I can make my own? Then I saw they also made maple bourbon pickles and I knew this was a project I had to tackle. So I did. Many times over.
And two: there’s such a thing as a “Pickleback”; which is essentially a shot of whiskey with a pickle juice chaser. Apparently originated in 2007 at the Bushwick Country Club in Brooklyn, NY. So I figured if whiskey and pickles go that well together, why not just combine them?
And the rest is history. Like green Ball jars!
If these pickles piqued your interest, and/or you just like to get down with some funky & unique pickle flavors, let me also suggest the following:
- Molotov cocktail pickles (vodka & hot peppers)
- Hop pickles (made with IPA)
- Martini pickles (vodka, pearl onions and olive juice; 007 style)
- Green coriander pickles (made with the green coriander seeds that grow on cilantro)
- Grilled pickles (exactly what it says! Fire up the grill!)
- Lemon garlic tarragon pickles (pickles made with fresh lemon, garlic and tarragon)
- Caraway pickles (caraway seeds & apple cider vinegar)
- Sweet pickles (with cloves & cinnamon)
And if you’re less adventurous; a fan of the more common kinds of pickles- your usual, run of the mill kinds, then try these: