Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Pickles

As with squash, we've had quite a few cucumbers. Cucumber slices, cucumber sandwiches, cucumber cubes with hummus or ranch dip.... we've been enjoying our many cucumbers.

If we don't pickle them, our cucumbers will rot (there are just too many for a family of 3 to devour before they go bad!). So pickle we have done.

My preference is dill pickles. We've tried a few different recipes in the past, but were never crazy about any of them. Last fall, my mom tried a new recipe. When we tried her pickles, we knew we had to have the recipe. They tasted almost exactly like our favorites (Claussen)! She even pickled jalapenos and carrot slices with this one.

Here's the recipe (I can't give proper credit for this one. I don't know where my mom got it):

Dill Pickles

Put 1 pod of garlic and 1/2 tsp. dill seed in the bottom of 6-7 pint jars. Pack cucumber spears into the jars. (Double the garlic and dill and halve the jars if you are using quart jars instead). Adding 1 jalapeno to the bottom of the jars is optional.

Bring to boil 1 quart of water, 1/2 quart of vinegar and 1/2 cup pickling salt. Pour boiling water mixture over cucumbers and seal. Let set for 6 weeks before enjoying.

I have a nifty trick for easy sealing, as well. I'll share below. First, let me share our bread and butter pickles.

We saw Alton Brown making pickles on Food network one night. These need to stay refrigerated so we make less of these. Let's face it. We only have so much room in our fridge!

Ab's B and B's

1/2 onion, thinly sliced
2 medium cucumbers, thinly sliced
1 cup water 1 cup cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups sugar Pinch kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
1/2 teaspoon pickling spice

Combine onion and cucumber slices in a clean spring-top jar.
Combine the remaining ingredients in a non-reactive saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 4 full minutes to wake up the flavors of the spices.
Slowly pour the hot pickling liquid over the onion and cucumber slice, completely filling the jar. Allow the pickles to cool to room temperature before topping off with any remaining pickling liquid. Refrigerate.


Easy Canning Technique

A friend of my grandmother told her about this. While she sticks to traditional boiling, I decided to give this a try.

Boil the lids in a small pot of boiling water (it melts the rubber a little and makes it more receptive to sticking to the jar). Wipe down the mouth of each jar. Take the lids out of the water, one by one (kitchen tongs are great for this) or else they'll stick together. Wipe the lid down as well. Cap jars as normal.

Place the jars into a rectangular cake pan. Be sure the jars are not touching one another! Put them in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes. I let them cool on the stove before storing my jars in the pantry.

Easy, right? We don't do much canning, but I have done this with spaghetti sauce as well. I find it much easier than boiling my jars.

Get out there and make some pickles!

5 comments:

The Rabid Outdoorsman said...

My first and only attempt at making pickles yielded 12 jars of pickles with the consistency of jello . . . :(

Jodi said...

TRO - I'd suggest trying it again. Alton Brown is your friend (can you tell I love him?)!!

Seriously - these 2 recipes are so easy they're hard to mess up. I also find smaller batches easier to manage/harder to mess up.

The Rabid Outdoorsman said...

My new motto . . . freeze it and forget it! :)

Hmmm, maybe I will try one more time . . . need to find a recipe for mustard pickles . . . Ummm.

STAY AT HOME MOMMY FROM MAINE said...

wow, I love your canning technique... the idea of boiling scares the heck out of me for some reason. How long have you stored them for?? Does it really work??

I'm trying your spagetti sauce today!!!

Jodi said...

SAHM - My mom stored her pickles like that for all of last year.

I've never made it more than a couple of months with a batch of spaghetti sauce, but that's because we've always eaten it all. lol

We've been freezing all of our tomato sauce this year. There was a case of botulism poisining in Madawaska while we were in college. They were eating homemade canned spaghetti sauce. Canning in general worries T now, so we freeze most everything (he can't enjoy it because of that worry in the back of his mind).

Enjoy the tomato sauce! I've made so many batches of it this year now that I don't even need to refer to my recipe card anymore.

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