How to Make Your Own Pickles
Again, it’s been a while … ugh! This post has been in the making for a few weeks now and just hasn’t made it to the top of my priority list along with all the other things that have managed to reach the summit first! ;-p Between having all the kids home for the summer, then getting started back to school, to transitioning into a new full-time job, and now there’s #1’s basketball schedule and #2’s fall baseball schedule … I’ve had to pull back on my 365 day challenge to a homemade home. Although my original plan was to be 365 consecutive days, I’m allowing my plan to be interrupted by life; and a GREAT life it is! Before I am finished I will have at least attempted 365 homemade items, it just may not be within the year deadline that I had set out to do.
Goals are great to keep you moving forward but there was a church message a few months ago that a dear friend reminded me of a while back about being interrupt-able. Be interrupt-able! This phrase has been on repeat in my head for the last few weeks and it’s forced me to pause and make sure I’m not missing out on something more important. Quite frankly, I have yet to wish I hadn’t stopped what my busy body was doing to enjoy a moment with the kiddos, the Mr. or a friend. There is nothing wrong with being busy (I get it all too honest from the three generations of Momma Bear’s before me, my Great-Grandma Ollie, Grammy Lou-Lou, and Momma Bear herself) but I’m working on being more interrupt-able.
With all that being said, I’ll interrupt myself to get onto the REAL reason for this post … the pickles, our garden has been doing a pretty good job at producing for us this summer but they did get a later start than most peoples. No matter what, I love the fact we started them from seed and we have enjoyed a steady flow of cucumbers, zucchini, and jalapenos. We are still waiting on our tomatoes to turn and I have realized we must have mixed up our seeds or labels because I’m really not quite sure of the tomato variety we ended up with!
This first batch of pickles was made from a dear neighbor’s cucumbers that she was so gracious to share with us (which was more than a month ago, so YES this post has been in the holding pen for THAT long!). I got my inspiration from Debber
3 quart size mason jars with rings and new seals
4-5 medium to large size cucumbers
4 1/4 water
1 cup + 2 tablespoons white vinegar
1/4 cup pickling salt
6 gloves of garlic (2 per jar)
3 teaspoons dill weed (1 tsp per jar)
3 teaspoons dill seed (1 tsp per jar)
large clean tub or bucket (optional)
garden hose (optional)
Prepare everything before filling jars. Cut cucumbers into spears sized and remove the sides if desired. Put cut cucumbers into a large clean tub or bucket. Take tub of cucumbers outside to the garden hose. Thoroughly clean the end of the garden hose. Fill the tub of cucumbers up with cold garden hose water. Turn the water down so it is coming out at the lowest pressure and allow the water to run into the tub, this will cause the water to over the edges of the bucket. Allow the water to run while everything else gets prepped. Wash jars in hot, soapy water, then fill with hot water and set aside. Fill large stock pot halfway with hot water and put over high heat. In a medium size sauce pan, prep rings and seals by covering them with water and bring to a simmer. In another sauce pan, bring water, vinegar, and salt to a boil.
Next filling the jars. Place dill weed, dill seed, and one garlic clove on the bottom of each jar. Fetch some cold cucumbers from outside. Tightly load the cucumbers into the jars. Place the second garlic clove on top. Pour water, vinegar, and salt brine leaving 1/2 inch head space in each jar. Add seal and ring. Tighten. Add to jars to stockpot making sure the water is just to the necks of the jars. Bring water to just boiling (about fifteen minutes). Remove jars. Wait for ‘ping’ of the seal. Note: if the jars don’t ping with in a few minutes, the seal has need been set and additional time in the stockpot may be needed.
Cost Comparison: Less than $0.25 for a 32 ounce jar of homemade pickles vs. approximately $2 for a 16 ounce jar of store bought pickles
Updated 8/10/16: So it’s that time of year again and we are starting to get into a pickle around here! HAAAHAHAAA … I know, eye-rolling allowed! J We picked our first few cucumbers this past Thursday and by Sunday we had 26 piled on the kitchen counter. The Mr. (one who is not too fond of his vegetables) has been SO ready for some fresh pickles ever since he tried them last summer so with such an abundance of them ready to go, I decided what better day than our 17thwedding anniversary to get a batch of fresh dill pickles whipped up and in jars.
This year I planted a few pickling cucumber plants and I must say these are some of the cutest cukes I ever did see, just perfect in size. I have a few regular cucumber plants also and this batch was a mixture of both kinds. I haven’t noticed a significant difference in the texture and crispness, but the size pickle perfect! And since I am all about testing different things out and learning by trial and
errors discoveries (I really don’t like referring to these as errors because I learn so much by them that they deserve a much more positive reference than ‘errors’ … and really this way of thinking could shed a great deal of light on life!), there are an abundance of experiment options that I’d like to try out so I can perfect my cukes, whether it be dill, sweet, bread and butter, or relish … OH the possibilities are endless.
My first experiment (the portion that was updated in my recipe above) was inspired by my sweet sister’s experience making pickles with a local woman where they are missionaries. She shared with me how her friend had insisted they put the freshly cut cucumbers in a bucket and let the garden hose run over them for 2 hours. Not fully understanding the reasoning behind this, I decided it had to do with the crispness so I thought ‘Sure! Why not?’! They did turn out quite crisp and crunchy, but since I didn’t try making a jar where I had not done this, I truly can’t say the result was crispier and crunchier … so of course since I need data to back that statement up, I will be trying that next. J
All in all, our first batch of pickles this summer went off without a hitch and out of the 10 jars that were made on Sunday, only 2 remain unopened after many were enjoyed and a few given away.