Time for some fresh McKinley and pickles

If you’ve been following Robin McKinley’s blog for her Kes story updates, you usually get something fresh there. But I’m talking about the release of Shadows, her newest novel that’s coming out on September 26th. And she’s also holding a giveaway contest, so I’m in. If you want to enter, too, here’s the link info:

Do you love fantasy author Robin McKinley’s books Blue Sword, Sunshine, Pegasus, The Hero and the Crown, Spindle’s End, and others? SHADOWS is coming in September 26th! http://tinyurl.com/RMcKSHADOWS #RMcKSHADOWS Tweet it, Facebook it, blog it to enter a drawing for a signed copy http://robinmckinleysblog.com/contest/ Repost to share with fellow book lovers.

In other news:

It’s amazing to contemplate how much time you wasted hating Russian Dill pickles as a child. And by you, I mean me, and by Russian Dill pickles, I mean the best pickles in the known world. For your canning and chomping pleasure:

Russian Dill Pickles (courtesy of my mom)

1/4 c salt

1 c sugar

1 c water

2 c vinegar

onions, garlic, fresh or dry seed dill (Tbsp of seed, or a couple heads of fresh), and pickling cucumbers. (Also opt: hot pepper)

To can, sterilize jars by boiling 15 minutes in hot water bath. Also bring jar lids to boil but don’t leave in bath. Jar rings don’t have to be boiled. As for filling, sometimes it works best to fill one at a time and boil, then repeat the procedure for each jar. Filling instructions are as follows:

Put onions, garlic, and dill in bottom of sterilized jars. Cut cukes lengthwise into spears as thin as you like, four to six spears per cuke (or more or less). Put sliced cukes in cold/ice water for 1-12 hours (nope, that’s not a typo. The longer you let them sit in the cold water, the crisper they’ll be. Then add cukes in jar on top of the other stuff. Make the juice with the first four ingredients listed, boil, and pour into jars.

Put filled jars into hot water bath. (As mentioned above, one at a time works well. Fill one jar, put it in water, fill next jar, etc.) Bring water to a boil and boil jars for five minutes. Remove jars to counter and wait for the seals.

It’s best to use really fresh cucumbers. Mom’s advice was “twenty-four hours from vine to brine.”

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