Pickles, pickles, and more pickles…

Cucumbers.  Lots and lots… and lots of cucumbers.  That’s what we have and most of them are ginormous.  Something had to give with the cukes.  It’s nothing for us to go out, pick 5 and the next evening pick 10 more. 

As they piled up on the counter, I managed to sort out some smaller ones for canning pickles.  Having no clue how to can anything besides strawberry jam, I had to do a little research.  Like most every other subject, there’s plenty of information on the internet about canning pickles.  So many different recipes and methods it’ll make your head spin!  In the end, I went with a mixture of online instructions and the recipe on the back of a pickling mix I got at the store. : P  I’m going for easy on my first pickling adventure, you know. 

Pickling adventure #1

canned pickles Basically, I speared the cukes (because they were way too big for whole pickles) and soaked them in a vinegar/pickling mix solution.  Next, the spears were stuffed into jars by myself and my son.  At this point, all the other kids abandoned the operation out of boredom or some shiny thing caught their eye.  We filled the jars with the hot pickling solution, lidded and ringed the jars and placed them in the water bath.  Voila – we have pickles!  Okay, almost have pickles.  Now they get to sit for a month and a half to cure.

 

Pickling adventure #2

sun pickles So, yay!  We have nine jars of pickles!…  and still more cucumbers that even I can eat.  Now what?  And this is where my good friend Betty saves the day.  Mickey and Betty are vendors at the farmer’s market across the street from my house.  (I know, right?  You’re so jealous that I have a farmer’s market right across the street.  Every week.)  Anyhoo, I share with Mickey and Betty my cucumber dilemma and guess what sweet Betty brings me.  A gallon jar and TWO of her pickle recipes!  Sweet pickles and Sun pickles.  Well right away I’m enchanted.  Sun pickles?  Really?  I can make pickles harvesting energy and heat from the sun?  It’s almost mad scientist territory and I’m holding back my evil mad scientist laugh.  This is gonna be too fun. 

After, looking over the recipe I realize I have no fresh dill. : (  Everything else, I’m good on – garlic, vinegar, CUCUMBERS haha.  I’ll have to improvise. 

Instructions:  Wash cukes – use any size (even ginormous).  Cut 1/4 off each end.  If cukes are large, make deep slashes 1/4 inch from one end to the other.  This allows vinegar to penetrate cucumbers.  Pack into jar vertically.  Don’t overpack.  Add vinegar until the cukes are completely covered.  Add garlic and the fresh dill.  Whoops! No fresh dill.  Hmm, I know!  I’ll just sprinkle a bunch of dried dill in.  As I’m rummaging through the spice cabinets (I have four.  I love herbs and spices.), I notice the peppercorns.  Mmm, that sounds yummy in pickles.  In goes the peppercorns.  Then I think to myself.  Don’t pickles usually have mustard seed in them too?  I should add that.  In goes the mustard seed. 

Now, please don’t ask me how much I put in of my ‘extra’ ingredients.  I really have no idea and just shook the little jars till enough contents fell out that ‘looked right’.  You’ll have to use your mad scientist skills to figure that one out. 

Expose the jar to sunlight for 2 days for a total of 14 hours.  (at least)  Store pickles in refrigerator.  OR if you’re a little daring and you have a full fridge, just park those puppies on the tile floor right in front of the ac vent. 

*Note: if you wish to use salt, add 3 T salt to 2 quarts of water and decrease the vinegar to 1 quart.  Keep in sun for 3 days.

This second batch of pickles came out very tangy.  They have quite the punch of vinegar and dill.  Not unlike a pickle, just very strong.  I think next time I’ll try them with the salt.  I love salty pickles. 

I would LOVE to have a tried and true pickle recipe.  You know, the kind that someone’s grandmother has been making for years and always wins at the state fair kinda thing.  For now, we’re just experimenting with what we can find.  It’s not likely we’ll run out of cukes!

-knittingprose

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6 responses to this post.

  1. Making your own pickles is so much fun and, after you get the hang of it, relatively easy. We made 27 pints last night! Keep on canning!

    Reply

    • Posted by knittingprose on July 21, 2010 at 12:04 pm

      What recipe do you use? I’m hoping to use something I KNOW someone likes. Right now, it’s just a stab in the dark.

      Reply

      • Unfortunately for me, I haven’t begun developing a recipe I like. I get such wonderfully consistent pickles from the spice packet made by Mrs. Wages that I use it every time.

  2. Posted by knittingprose on July 21, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    Mrs. Wages… I’ll remember that next time I make pickles. Thanks!

    Reply

  3. These are my favorite bread and butter pickles. They are what grandma would have made: http://michaelbeyer.wordpress.com/2010/08/17/your-classic-bread-and-butter-pickles-2/

    Reply

    • Posted by knittingprose on August 18, 2010 at 12:03 pm

      SO funny that you should post this TODAY. My mom and I are making bread and butter pickles and we’ve been fussing over the perfect recipe. lol Thanks for the extra encouragement! : )

      Reply

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