Saturday, September 1, 2012

My First Pickling Experience

Although I have made refrigerator pickles before I have always wanted to jar and can my own. When I was pregnant with my first daughter I ate an entire industrial sized jar of pickled mushrooms and pickles have always been popular in our house.  Now at the end of summer was the perfect time for pickling. Not only were the jars on sale, so were the cucumbers. I was very anxious about the whole process but if you have everything ready there is no need to worry!

pre pickling
 I used my huge tamale steamer as the canning pot. I also used my huge non-reactive stock pot. I did invest in the jar tongs which I am glad I did! Those jars are hot and slippery! I used a mix for the pickling solution but will be trying a recipe for the sweet pickles. I was alarmed when I saw the recipe used 10-12lbs of pickles. I only used 3 1/2. I didn't realize there would be some shrinkage. I also purchased some button mushrooms for pickling. Some of the smaller pickles I left whole while I cut the bigger ones in half. I have a ton of dill left over but I put that in the fridge in a cup of water. That's a great way to preserve your fresh herbs. My one regret is I forgot the whole pepper for the jars.

I started the water in the canning pot boiling and the picking solution. I washed out the jars and sterilized them in the boiling water. I then put a clove of garlic and some of the dill. I used a Pyrex glass measuring cup to scoop our the pickling liquid and fill the jars. It said to leave 1/2 inch of space. I noticed that the amount of pickling solution I had made wasn't enough for all the jars. I am glad I didn't have more to fill. I had to improvise and add some water to some of the jars.
I had to go back and add more liquid
I have a ton of room left over in the jars but now I know and will probably purchase a bushel next time!  Next step in the process was to give the jarred pickles a dip in the hot tub! Here is where it's important to think about how much water will be displaced when you put the jars in! I had a waterfall and luckily had another pot there so I could scoop out some of the excess water. I needed to cover the tops of the jars. My recipe said to boil the jars with the lids on for 10 minutes. I then removed them with the tongs and let them sit upside down. They will be this way until tomorrow:) If I can't resist eating them!

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