Pickles 2011

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.

September 4, 2011. Tags: , , . preserving. Leave a comment.

Pickle Notes (2010)

I could have sworn I made notes of my canning efforts last year – which recipes, and what sorts of spicing modifications that I made, but of course now I can’t find that.

When Beth/Bookishbiker posted this zucchini recipe it caught my eye (I had some great pickles seasoned with tumeric earlier this summer at a pizza place). So when I didn’t get around to making dinner with some zucchini I decided to go ahead and make them. Once I started the recipe I realized how much sugar was in the recipe – yup, it tastes a lot like bread and butter pickles. That is okay though. And in classic fashion my yield is off from the recipe yeild. I packed 3 pints jars plus one very full 1/2 pint jar – I probably should have packed the zucchini and onion slices looser in 4 pint jars. Oh well.

And I knew I wanted to make sweet spiced pickled beets again, but I also knew I didn’t want to make last years recipe since that turned out way too sweet. I’m 90% sure I used the Small Batch preserving recipe. So this year I tried the Ball Guide to Home Preservation recipe with my addition of ginger to the spices. But how much ginger did I use last year? Drats. So I decided to add just over 1/2 tablespoon of the dried, cracked ginger. I bought 2 bunches of beets at the Farmer’s Market (with oodles of golf ball size beets instead of the 4 or so larger beets that I see so often) I know it wasn’t the 10 lbs the recipe called for, but I was okay tossing a bit of brine (better than scrambling to boil a second batch of brine like I did last year). I thought I’d end up with about 4 pints. I ended up with 2 pints. Which might be a problem, since my mom has asked for some for christmas. Last year she actually mixed her plain canned beets with my pickled beets and said that created the perfect sweet-level of brine. Here’s hoping this brine recipe is a winner.

And finally: stop trying to process more than one type of pickle in an evening. Or at least pay attention to processing times before you are 3/4 the way through the process. That is when I realized that my zucchini jars only need to boil for 10 minutes while my beets need to boil for 30 minutes. The mom suggestion was to just take the zucchini out sooner.

September 3, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , . preserving. Leave a comment.

Third Pickle Round (2010)

We’ve been on the hunt for the perfect pickle recipe. Since I managed to find more small pickling cucs at the Farmer’s Market last weekend I gave another recipe a try. I ended up buying 1 3/4 lbs of very small cucumbers and using Food in Jar’s Garlic Dill Pickles recipe (http://www.foodinjars.com/2009/08/garlic-dill-pickles/) I made 5 pints of pickles. I actually reduced the brine by 3/4 and that made almost the perfect amount for my 5 jars with just a tad leftover. It is so nice to not frantically be making a 2nd small batch of brine to fill that last jar.

How many jars of pickles do I have now?
-5 pints cucumber garlic-dills
-2 pints sweet & spiced beets
-3 pints bread & butter zucchinis
-3 pints dilly beans
-2 quarts refrigerator dill cucumbers

and hopefully by the end of the day 2 pints (or halfpints) of sweet & spiced pear pickles

September 3, 2011. Tags: , , . preserving. Leave a comment.

More Pickle Notes

Dilly Beans! Last year I never got around to making dilly beans, though I did convince my mom to make some. Then I forgot to bring home the jar after christmas. So this year I vowed to make Dilled Green Bean pickles (aka Dilly Beans!). I decided to try the Food in Jars recipe. Except I realized at about 9:45 pm that I didn’t have dill seed, but I did have dill weed in preparation for cucumber pickles (the dill heads at the grocery store looked very very sad and kind of icky). So work with what you’ve got… Additionally I used 1 hot dried pepper from my spice stash per jar instead of the cayenne (or red pepper flakes that another very similar recipe specified).

September 23, 2010. Tags: , , . preserving. 1 comment.