2015: The Year of the Pickle. As part of my "Projects: A New Years List of Stuff to Do!" I decided to try my hand at making homemade pickles! So I read up on how to pickle cucumbers. Surprisingly, it sounded easier than I thought. Basically, take cucumber, slice cucumber, put cucumber in jar, put spices in jar, put pickling solution in jar, can jar, wait!
I found a recipe in my Joy of Cooking book and got collecting.
As with all canning, the key is preparation. I bought about 4 pounds of pickling cucumbers and all the spices required to make the Quick Dill Pickles recipe pictured. I got jars and pickling salt and vinegar. All the things!
I started by washing all the cucumbers, jars, lids and screwbands, also the ladle, plastic spoon, and funnel I'd need. The cucumbers need to be washed in cool water and the ends need to be scrubbed. No dirt allowed! Some recipes actually recommend cutting off stem ends of the cucumbers. All the rest of the stuffs can be washed in Hot soapy water and then rinsed thoroughly and dried. Set everything out in an accessible place near your stove.
Also, I started the water bath canner to sterilize the jars. To do this, fill the canner as much water as you can and bring it to a boil (this takes a Long Time so make sure to do this First before starting any pickling stuff). Place the cleaned jars into the boiling waterbath. Wait for the water to come back up to a vigorous boil and then set the timer for 10 minutes. Leave the jars in the boiling water and take them out as needed for filling. I usually fill my canner with as many jars as it can hold just in case I end up needing more jars. Also, I keep a kettle full of boiling water beside the stove to top up the canner.
Last set up consideration! Get the snap lids immersed in water in a frying pan. Set the frying on the stove on low heat. Do not boil the lids. You just want to keep them warm so the waxed rims seal better.
-shifts Planner Hat brim to the side, all gansta like-
Ok. Hot Pack Pickle Process Initiation! Below is a step by step of the process I used!
Step 1: Make up the pickling solution. In a clean non-reactive (aka not metal) pot combine:
2 1/4 cups water
3 cups Pickling vinegar
3/4 cup Pickling salt
This solution is, obviously, very vinegary. Watch your nostrils! It's the stuff sinus drano should be made of.
Bring solution to a boil over high heat. Once all the salt is dissolved and the boil is sustained, it's cucumber time!
Step 2: Slice the cleaned cucumbers in half lengthwise.
Grab out a sterilized jar from the water bath canner, empty it of water (I usually poured 2/3rds back into the canner and the rest in the sink, because of water displacement).
Pack the cucumbers in the jar tightly, making sure that the cucumbers aren't taller than the screw band threads.
Step 3: Add your pickle spices. In my case it was:
1 tsp Dill seeds
1 tsp pickling seasoning
1-2 garlic cloves, sliced to fit
Fit the garlic pieces in below the screw band threads as well.
Step 4: Ladle in boiling picking solution into the jar. Making sure to leave a 1/2 inch head space!
Step 5: Check that your head space is just right.
Step 6: Get out any air bubbles hiding in your jar with a non-reactive (aka plastic) utensil (aka spoon).
Then place the snap lid and twist on the screw band til JUST fingertip tight. So when the screw band gives resistance enough that you can't easily tighen it with your fore finger and your thumb, it's tight.
Place this jar into your boiling water bath and repeat this process till your canner is full (or you run out of pickles!).
Step 7: Process your jars for 10 minutes (minimum). Check your altitude! If you are over 1000Ft above sea level you have to add 5 mins.
Now all that's left to do is wait! ....this is the worst part. They look so yum. D=
The Half-Assed Hobbyist