Bri and Stefen

Bri and Stefen

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Canning Pickles

I have had a couple request to about how I did my pickles. I don't have pictures of the actual process so bear with me here. 

 I have heard you can use any kind of cucumbers however I used  large pickling cucumbers. That's what they're called. They are short and kind of plump and don't have much of a flavor. They come in small, medium, large. The large ones were cheaper on a daily basis,  but today there were on sale for even cheaper! I got mine at a local farm stand for a dollar a pound, I had to buy them in a 10 pound bag. Looking at other farm prices this is an average price. I haven't seen them go any lower, like i said earlier the ones I got today were on sale. Their normal price is $1.29 a pound. So that is the price point you want to stick around. 
These are the large pickling cucumbers that I got.

You will also need garlic you can use minced or cloves. I ALWAYS prefer cloves. They have more flavor and are much more fresh. I used one bigger clove per jar If they were small I used two or three. It really up to you. I LOVE garlic so for me the more the better. 

If you're making dill pickles (this is what I did) you will need dill. I bought it from the farm stand as well in a bunch like the picture below. You want to use the leaves. I had A LOT left over so I dried it in the oven at the lowest temp until it was crispy. I am keeping it in a container and I like to use it in tuna and salad dressings. As far as how much to use I used like 3 or 4 whole stems which was about 3-4 inches worth. I had so much dill that I could get away with it. If you only have enough to do one stem that's okay too.
 Jars is the most important thing. I used pint jars. I had to use one quart jar because I ran out of pint jars but either would work. I plan on giving some away and I like to give things away in pints, its just my preference so do what you would like. Just as an FYI I got 13 pints and 1 quart out of 10 pounds of cucumbers. 

The last thing and most important thing you will need is the brine. You will need: 
4 cups water
4 cups vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup salt  Use Kosher or Pickling salt 
3 tablespoons pickling spice
You will want to put the pickling spice in a cheesecloth bag. I personally hate buying cheesecloth for just one thing when it is so spendy. I personally use new knee highs and put the pickling spice in the knee high and then tie a knot. You could use a tea infuser too. I just always have a box of knee highs around for cooking. 

Put all the ingredients for the brine in a pot. Including the pickling spice however you have it. Bring it to a boil and then let it simmer for 15 minutes. then turn it down to low to keep it warm. I usually keep it on 2 on my stove.  I ended up using a double batch of brine for my 10 pounds of cucumbers.

While your brine is boiling, start sterilizing your jars. I use my water bath canner to sterilize mine but you can use the dishwasher too. It just 10 times fast to use the canner. To sterilize them completely submerge them in boiling water for 5 min. I usually keep them in the canner until I need them to keep them hot. I keep my canner at "9" through out the whole process, even when the canner is just sitting there. Your going to be adding water and taking water away as you go and its just easier to keep it boiling the whole time. You need to sterilize the lid and rings using the same method. I use another small saucepan and put all the lids and rings in there with water.
Your typical water bath canner. (I have seen them at Walmart etc.)

At this point you should have your jars sterilizing, your lids and rings sterilizing, and your brine boiling. When your brine is done boiling and your jars have sterilized long enough pull your jars out and dump the water out. I have the tool set below. I use the jar grabbers to get the jars out of the water.
From left to right: jar funnel, jar grabber, magnetic pick up stick, jar tightener, and tongs. I got this set online for about 8 dollars.
After you pull your jars out of the water put your garlic and dill into the bottom of the jars. Cut the ends off your cucumbers and cut to how you want them. I did spears. Pack them into your jars. When I say pack I mean cram those puppies in as tight as you can possibly manage. Some of mine I had to cut in half to get them to fit. The most important thing is to get those jars loaded. Don't put the cucumbers past the neck of the jar.

Use your jar funnel and pour the hot bring into the jar so it covers the cucumbers. This is okay to have past the neck of the jar. Just don't have it to the very top. Use your pick up tool and put the lid and ring on your jar and make sure your ring is tight on the jar. 

After you get all your jars full, (The canner fits 10 pints and 7 quarts per batch.) put them back into the boiling water and boil with the lid on for 5 minutes. This would be a full boil. The water needs to be completely covering the jars. Since my water lost its boil a little I put the timer on for 6 minutes as it was coming to a full boil pretty quickly. After you boil the jars pull them out and let them sit on the counter to cool and seal. You know if they are sealed if you push on the lids and they don't push back. Don't force them to seal though. Keep going with this process until all your cucumbers are canned.  If some of your jars don't seal they need to go in the fridge. After they cool make sure you label them so you know what year they are from.
They need to sit and pickle for at least a week. After that you can eat them.

If you have questions let me know! 
Have fun!

Photo: Those my friends are homemade dill pickles! And I'm drying dill! #ilovedill #canningseason #yum
Waiting to cool so they can be labeled! 

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