Friday, August 03, 2012

Pickling Pickles

Here is a photo journal of my pickling my latest batch of home grown cucumbers.

I've got everything ready: Cucumbers, garlic, freshly sanitized jars, and a cutting board. 

Oh yes, I just remembered I need dill too.  Good thing I've got my awesome herb garden in the front yard, complete with dill.
In preparation I also get my salt/vinegar solution ready.  It's 2 quarts water, 2 quarts vinegar and 1/2 cup of canning salt.  It needs to be brought to a boil and the salt needs to dissolve.  This will happen while I'm chopping cucumbers and stuffing the jars.
Also to prepare, I've got the lids to the jars in hot water.  They will seal better now.
Once the jars are ready, they will need to go into a boiling water bath.  I have found the best way for me to do this is outdoors.  The grill can get much hotter than my stove top.  This is the only way I can get this huge pot of water to boil in a reasonable amount of time.  Time to light up the grill!
Next I chop away.  Today my kids are watching Scooby Doo.  I can see the TV from where I sit, so while chopping at the cucumbers, I watch Scooby Doo, too.  Each jar gets a sprig of dill, a clove of peeled garlic and as many cucumber slices as I can stuff into it.
After each jar is stuffed to the max with cucumbers, I fill the jars with the hot salt/vinegar solution.  I put the lids on and screw them tightly on.  Next the jars go into the hot water bath out on the grill.  I can only do 4-5 jars at a time.
When they are done, I take them out and get the next batch in.  It takes me about 2 1/2 hours, but when it is all done, I've got lots of future pickles.  They'll need several weeks sitting in their solution, dilling and pickling, but when they are done..... mmmmm!
Today's batch yielded 10 quarts of pickles.  Honestly, I don't know how many quarts of pickles I've put up this year, although I'd guess about 80 quarts. Yes, 80 jars of pickles!  We've eaten 2 or 3 and I've given away 2 jars.  This is a freezer, that is not currently being used as a freezer, so it sat empty in our house.  Then, as we started to pickle and all those pickles needed a home, I stuck them into our unused freezer.

The small jars have green beans in them.  My hubby likes dilled green beans.  The jars that have a red tint to them are dilled green beans with hot pepper.  He likes them spicy!  I think we are pretty set on pickles for a while.  Good thing they are so very, very yummy.

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