Spicy dilly green tomato pickles
I got hooked on these over the winter. I had tweaked the canning recipe in ways that I felt were safe (and lived to tell about it) but want some opinions. The ingredients on the recipe ("Kosher Style Dill Green Tomato Pickles" from NCHFP) are:
Small green firm tomatoes
6 stalks celery
6 sweet green peppers, seeded and quartered
6 cloves garlic
2 quarts water
1 quart distilled white vinegar (5%)
1 cup canning or pickling salt
Fresh dill to taste
I've read that you can trade out sweet pepper for hot pepper, or vice versa, as much as you want as long as the total amount of pepper remains the same. Correct? Which begs the question here: are they referring to big bell peppers in the recipe or a smaller variety, or is there enough safety factor built in to the recipe that they consider it safe either way?
What I have more question about is the celery and garlic. I'm no big fan of celery, would rather just leave it out, and don't see that it adds anything to the safety of the product. Is there any problem with leaving it out?
I'd rather have 2-3 cloves of garlic per quart instead of just one. Especially if I leave the celery out, is that going to diminish the safety of the pickles in any way? I'd be willing to add more vinegar, or switch from fresh dill to dry seed, if need be, to allow the extra garlic.
Also, the recipe only gives BWB time for quarts. Can I do up the small cherry tomatoes safely in pints if I use the same canning time?
If those changes won't fly, do you know if a tested spicy dilly green tomato pickle recipe, with no sugar, that is more like what I'm after?
I appreciate any knowledgeable feedback if you have the time to give it.