Saturday, September 18, 2010
What started as an overwhelming (to my small brain) 25lbs of very muddy organic cucumbers is now...I don't know...millions? Of pickles. Stacks and stacks of pickles. Probably no two jars are alike because I just don't have the consistency to make them all the same. Plus I tend to use recipes as a guide rather than actually following them word for word. Between that and my awesome math skills, nothing ever comes out exactly how it is supposed to. This is why I don't bake cakes.
But back to the pickles. So, I thought this could be done in about three hours. Turns out it took me more like twelve. Or maybe fifteen. And my friends have the nerve to ask me for a jar of pickles! For free! Ha! Okay, so I may have already given some away.
The basic recipe proportions I followed were these: 1 cup vinegar to 1 cup water to 1 teaspoon salt. Plus some pickling spices. And extra mustard seeds until I ran out of mustard seeds. Except at the beginning I accidentally used 2 TABLEspoons of salt to each cup of liquid. Oops. So that required some fixing. Other than that, I don't think I messed it up TOO badly. Each pickle jar got a few cloves of garlic, some onions, some dried dill with seeds and some fresh dill, was packed with pickles and then had the boiling pickling brine poured over it. The jars were all boiled in a water bath for about ten minutes (yeah, probably not long enough for this altitude, so if my family croaks, you'll know why).
The girls even got in on the action. After the first round of pickling, when I realized that it was going to take me a week to process all of the cucumbers on my own, I decided to prep everything ahead of time and let the girls pack the jars one afternoon after school. Brynn packed the quart jars and Callie took care of the pints. Honestly, I usually don't like having them in the kitchen. I wish I were patient and didn't care about messes all over the floor and counter, but that just isn't me. But this?! It was kind of fool proof! Except for the shattered prep bowl! Other than that, everything was super smooth!
And now, when the girls go through a jar of pickles a day, I can't reprimand them because, after all, they did most of the labor themselves!