I made pickles on my own in 2009. And again in 2010, each year I try to take notes because I always find myself stumped… which recipe did I make? How much produce did I buy? On Saturday I grab 5 lbs of pickling cucumbers (all small enough to fit in a pint jar whole), ~2 lbs of green beans (and hey look, tomatillos, I’ll take 3 lbs for my favorite green enchilada sauce) from the farmer’s market and planned to pickle the weekend away.
First up: Garlic Dill Pickles, recipe courtesy of Food in Jars. We made these last year, but I find myself stumped? Black pepper, I don’t remember that, did we prefer fresh dill or dill seed? I don’t think we noticed a difference, or if we did it wasn’t enough to be memorable. Oh, hey we did use dried whole chiles instead of crushed red pepper – 1 per jar. But what exactly is 2 quarts of cucumbers? I decided to do a little tracking. Using a spare dry pint box from berries I filled it 4 times and dumped the cucumbers in a big bowl set up on my scale. 39.5 oz. I get 8 jars ready, only to realize that my water bath canner holds 7 jars. Oh well. And then I only manage to fill 6 of those jars (each holds 6 cucumbers when I mix slightly smaller with slightly larger cucumbers, one jar has 5 thicker cucumbers). So I grab 7 more cucumbers, quickly scrub and prep them (I cut both ends off because I worry I’ll mistake a blossom end for a stem end). This year we are aiming for a few spicier jars and add 2 chiles to 3 of the jars. I do have some extra brine… oh well.
Garlic Dill Pickles: 41 cucumbers (not quite 3 lbs) in 7 pint jars.
Second batch: Cucumber Pickles with Lemon from The Complete Book of Small Batch Preserving. Calls for 2 lbs of pickles (and I have 30 oz remaining). Wish I had started sooner since the cucs need to be salted and sit for 3 hours. I didn’t believe that the cucumber slices would fit in three jars so I prepped four jars and upped the brine (vinegar, lemon juice, sugar and spices by 1 1/3) only to have it all fit perfectly in 3 jars.
Third Batch: Dilly Beans from Food in Jars, with a slight modification to the brine (following the Ball Complete Guide… brine ratio so I used 2 1/2 T of salt instead of 4 T that Marissa called for). 2 lbs of green beans probably could have filled 4 jars, but I prepped three jars. Ooops, processed them for 10 minutes instead of 5.
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