I don’t know if its all the rain, or our raised beds, or what, but our cucumbers have been growing like wild this summer. They have gotten so heavy that I’ve had to prop their trellis up with poles so they don’t squish it! As much as I love a cucumber & chevre sandwich, I hit my limit on raw cucumber pretty quickly. And that’s when I know its time to make pickles.
I love making pickles because they are so easy and make a great gift. Whenever we are invited to someone’s house I like to bring a little something as gift, and often its a jar of handmade pickles (is that weird?). When I’ve made them in the past they were good at first but after a couple of months they become too soft. And since the whole point of canning veggies is to be able to enjoy them year round, this just won’t do. I looked into it and learned about lime-pickling, where you soak your cucumbers in a lime solution for several hours, then in ice water for several hours (or over night) and it makes your pickles much more crisp. So this time, that is what I’m doing and I’m using this tutorial:
Yesterday, some of the neighborhood kids helped me pick a big bucket full of pickles during a break in the rain which I then sliced up and put in a lime bath to soak all afternoon.
Then in the evening I drained them and put them in bowls of ice water in the fridge to spend the night.
Today I drained them and soaked them in ice water again for a few more hours and then finally drained and rinsed them. Now for the fun part. I made up three different types of pickling juice (brine?). Chris likes dill pickles so I did one pot of the basic dill pickle recipe I posted about last year. I had several request for bread and butter pickles, which are my pickle of choice as well, so I did a big pot using Mrs. Wage’s Zesty Bread & Butter Pickle mix. And finally, for comparison, I did a small pot using a variation of Emeril’s Sweet & Spicy Pickle recipe.
While these were cooking, I packed my pint and half pint jars with cucumbers and slices of onion. Each jar also got a dash of Pickle Crisp Granules. Then the jars destined to become dill pickles got about a teaspoon of chopped garlic and a head of fresh dill. A couple of jars of each recipe also got a couple of dried jalapenos, as an experiment, because Alicia said she wanted “Hot & Sweets” which I think are kind of like bread & butter’s, but spicy. I don’t have any fresh jalapenos in the garden yet, so I used dried. It’ll be interesting to taste the results!
Once the jar were stuffed full I poured in the hot liquid, screwed on the lids and canned them in a water bath for 10min.
All done! The dill pickle juice is clear and the bread and butter pickles are more yellow because of the turmeric.
You can see the dried jalapenos in some of the jars.
Now we just have to wait two weeks and then, hopefully, we will have some nice crunchy pickles!
Don’t forget, I’m not a canning expert and my posts are just meant to give you an idea of what I did, not teach you how to can. Before you do any canning of your own please read this post.