An adventure in pickling and canning

A couple of weekends ago I decided to try my hand at pickling and canning for the first time.  Considering the last time I canned anything I was young and helped my mom and grandma with it I really didn’t pay attention at the time and had no idea what to do.  So doing what I do best I jumped on the worlds greatest website, pinterest, and pulled up canning recipes and pickling recipes.  The amount of different ways you can make pickles or things you can do with cucumbers is astounding!  It’s a never ending sea of pickles, or pickles that you can make taste like apple rings.  There’s bread and butter, garlic, spicy, plain dill, then of course there’s the million different ways you can make a cucumber salad.  It was at one point a little over whelming.  I finally found a recipe I thought I’d try and a good method of sealing the jars then started my process.

First I pulled out all of my ingredients.  I laid out the 17 cucumbers I had picked the day before, some vinegar, garlic cloves, the dill I had, some table salt(canning, pickling salt or sea salt is recommended) and my jars.

Next I cut my cucumbers the way that I wanted my pickles to be, so I cut spears and chips.  I placed the cucumbers in the Jars and mixed my brine together for the pickles.  I decided I wanted to do Garlic dill pickles. The recipe called for one clove of garlic in each jar, and fill the jars up with as much dill as you can put in pretty much.  I put about 2 little bunches in each jar as I didn’t have a ton of dill.  Then added the brine.  I didn’t actually follow one recipe exact.  I have a recipe book that has recipes from the 50’s so it was that and then I added the garlic to it.  I then found a recipe on http://www.freshpreserving.com and typed in Kosher Dill pickles.  I followed there directions on Fresh Preserving to can the pickles and they will keep for up to one year.

Garlic Dill Pickles Recipe
6 cups water
2 cups white vinegar
1/2 cup of sea salt or canning salt
1/8 tsp of Alum(not absolutely necessary, used more to keep the cucumbers crisp)
Fresh Dill
1 bunch of garlic
-Cut cucumbers and stuff jars full.  Place one clove of garlic in each jar, stuff jar as full as you can with fresh dill.  Combine water, vinegar, salt, and alum in a mixing bowl and ladle into each jar.  Wipe mouth of jar, place lids and seal fingertip tight.

To Process the Jars
Once Jars are full of pickles and your brine place them in the boiling water canner.  Process them for 15 minutes.  Once it’s been 15 minutes turn off stove, remove lid and let the jars sit in the water for 5 minutes.  Check lids for seal 24 hours after boiling.  Lids should not go up or down when center is pressed.  For best results let them sit for 4-6 weeks.

I let two jars sit for about 4-6 days, because they did not seal, then placed them in the fridge and opened them up the next day…..not bad.  They tasted like pickles but I think they needed a little more dill.  So when I say load those jars with Dill I mean load those jars.  You can taste the dill but it’s not as strong as the garlic.  They are still good and my daughter LOVES them.  She ate an entire jar in two days.  She’s kind of like her mother though and loves dill pickles, my husband even said they were pretty good and he’s the hardest to please when it comes to food so I must be close to making them perfect.  I’m learning with all of these new adventures that I’m attempting to walk on that trial and error is the best way to learn.  Next time I make pickles I will definitely make sure that I have enough dill and I may even spice a few up with some jalapeno.  Either way my family is going to be set on pickles for the next 6 months at least and I’m even going to share some with friends.
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Have fun canning my friends, and remember just because you made a mistake with a recipe doesn’t make it a bad batch it just teaches you to do it differently.

HAPPY CANNING!

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