In a "Pickle"

Sunday, July 1, 2012

I'm about to let you in on a secret: I'm really in to pickling right now.  Okay, if you follow me on Instagram, it's not much of a secret.  But seriously, I have discovered The Joy of Pickling, which, incidentally, is the name of my newly purchased book on the subject.  You know, in case I get bored with the recipe I've been using.

I knew I wanted to grow my own cucumbers and make pickles last year.  So I did.  Except...I'm not very good at growing cucumbers.  As in, I've grown a grand total of six.  And only four were pickle-worthy.


Luckily, I live in a town that has a Farmer's Market.  And guess what they sell at farmer's markets?  (Besides the sunflowers pictured above - I was super hipster that day).  CUCUMBERS!  And OKRA!

So I bought enough cucumbers to make six pints of pickles and enough okra to make one pint.  I'll let you know how they taste in mid-August.  My granny says you have to leave them alone for six weeks to really get them good and flavorful.  And I don't argue with my granny when it comes to good eats.

In case you want to give pickling a go yourself, here's my grandmother's recipe:

Alma's Dill Pickled Cucumbers
Fresh picked cucumbers
White vinegar
Hot peppers (I used serrano)
Mixed pickling spices

1. 24 hours ahead: Mix up a bowl of brine (1 cup salt to 8 cups water) and place your cucumbers in the bowl.  Use a plate to weigh them down and keep them covered.  Soak for 24 hours.
2. Remove cucumbers and pat dry.
3. Fill your clean mason jars with hot water and set them aside.  This is to keep the abrupt temperature change in step 11 from shattering the glass.
3. Make a vinegar solution of 2 cups vinegar to 3 cups water and pour into a large pot.
4. Add 2 tablespoons of mixed pickling spices.  You can find these in a grocery store in a little tin.
5. Add several bunches of fresh dill (in the refrigerated section with the veggies).
6. Bring the concoction to a boil.
7. Add your cucumbers and remove from heat.
8. In a clean quart-sized mason jar, place 2 cloves of garlic, 2 small hot peppers (I only used one pepper per pint-sized jar), and a bunch of dill.
9. Cram the cucumbers into the jar.
10. Bring the vinegar solution back to a boil.
11. Pour the solution into the jars so that the cucumbers are covered.
12. Screw the lids onto the jar "fingertip tight," meaning don't use the palm of your hand, just your fingertips.  The air has to be able to escape the jar during the sealing process and if the lid is too tight, it can't.
13. In a large pot of water, bring enough water to cover your jars to a simmer.
14. Carefully place the jars in the simmering water for 5 minutes.  Don't leave them too long, or your pickles will be mushy.
15. Remove from pot using tongs or a tool made especially for this purpose (the Ball company makes the one I use) and set aside to cool.

Your pickles will be at optimum flavor in about 6 weeks, though you can eat them after about one.  The longer you leave them, the more like pickles they will be and the less like tangy cucumbers.

I used a modified version of this recipe for the okra.  I modified it mostly because I ran out of peppers and didn't brine the okra so I added salt to them.  We'll see how it goes.  

My super cute labels came from Limeshot Design and were totally free.  I just printed them on 67 lb. card stock and hot glued them onto my cooled jars.

Hope everyone else is enjoying summer's bounty as much as I am!

1 comment:

  1. That is so neat! I think it's so cool that you are pickling your own veggies, and I would definitely listen to grannie's advice (they know EVERYTHING!!). Love the labels too! You'll have a cute, stocked pantry!


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