Monday, July 29, 2013

Pickles from start to finish

This year, I decided to expand my canning from tomatoes and jams to pickles. I made a few jars with the cucumbers I managed to grow in the garden, and even made a batch of fermented "new dills", but it was time to expand the operation and make enough to last for a while. Or at least for longer than a week, given my rapid pickle consumption.

Since my own cucumber plants finally declared themselves on vacation, I went to the farmers market and obsessively picked all the little cucumbers from all the produce stands. Yes, I was that obnoxious person rooting through a pile of produce, squeezing each one, and creating a huge traffic jam. Sorry. It had to be done. I ended up with a bowl of mostly small cukes.

I decided to use the recipe for spicy dill pickles from a friend who gave me a jar last year. They are very vinegary, spicy, and in general good for clearing your brain and sinuses. Just what I need with my lunch!

Recipe is as follows:
Brine: 4 cups white vinegar, 2 cups water, 1/4 cup kosher salt.
Per jar: three sprigs dill, 1 grape leaf, three garlic cloves, 1 hot pepper, two tablespoons pickling spice (yellow and brown mustard, dill seed, black peppercorns, allspice, in roughly equal proportions plus some crushed bay leaf)

The process went roughly like this:

The artistic shot. I am not actually using the recipe from this book,
but it's pretty and a really good canning book too.

The stage is set. Yes, that is, in fact, Nick's old burp cloth on the right.
Its super absorbency makes is very nice for wiping jar rims.

My kitchen. The water bath and the brine are heating up.

The jars are packed and ready for brine.

Nice hot bath for 15 minutes.

All ready. 4 jars spicy dill pickles, one jar spicy dill zucchini and one
jar pickled tomatoes.

My pantry. Ready for the zombie apocalypse.

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