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Pickles & Preserves August 11, 2006

Posted by merp in Food.

First, we chopped the cucumbers. Yes, these cucumbers! As well as garlic, shallots, ginger, one cayenne pepper, and some dill.

Then, a vinegar syrup with a lot of whole spices – including but not limited to: yellow mustard, coriander, peppercorns, bay leaves, cinnamon, allspice, cloves….and I forget what else.

The jars were sterilized – and here’s the big improvement over last year – in a huge stock pot that turned out to hold 7 jars at a time.

No time for photographs as we stuffed the hot jars full of pickles and hot vinegar. Once they were packed, they were processed in boilng water for 15-20 minutes.

And here they are, 8 beautiful pints of homemade dill pickles:

Plus, because there was a little vinegar left over, one jar of pickled garlic for the fridge.

They’ll be ready to taste in about a month. Sadly, we forgot to add pickle crisp (CaCl), but hopefully not a big deal.

I was amazed that the whole process, from set-up through clean-up, with both of us working together, only took an unfrantic 3 hours of our Tuesday evening. This was my second time pickling (sweet pickles last year) and Aaron’s third (2 years of pickled chiles). This year we used the dill pickle recipe from homecanning.com – the very useful website run by Ball jars. Though of course we followed our own noses on the spices.

Also, on Saturday, I made some peach freezer preserves:

I do this whenever I have a good batch of fresh fruit – in this case, golden peaches and white peaches from the Farmer’s Market. The most time-consuming part was peeling, chopping, and crushing them. Then you cook them a little (optional), add sugar and pectin, fill these nifty little plastic jars, let sit, seal and freeze. Then Y-YUM!

All last winter we worked through a big batch of really amazing raspberry-rhubarb jam and currently we have strawberry-rhubarb & strawberry-concord grape. Going to try something with pears this fall.


1. Mickey - August 12, 2006

Your pickles look awesome! Let me know if they turn out well; I’d love a good recipe. I haven’t had much luck with the pickles I’ve made. By the by, calcium chloride can also be added to spinach and rhubarb to cut down on the teeth-fuzzy feeling.

Dunno if you did this or not, but you can make peaches a whole lot easier to peel by dropping them in boiling water for a moment. I remember doing this with my mom when I was a kid. Also, if you’re going to do a lot of home canning, a food processor might cut down substantially on the chopping and crushing labor.

2. v - August 15, 2006

drooling! you will bring some to seattle, yes? (fyi, kam is a mindless fool for all things pickled.)

3. Jenna - August 28, 2006

I just made pickles AND freezer jam this summer! How weird. I made kiwi-pineapple jam and sweet freezer pickles with lots of onion! Yum! Anyway, I just happen to live in Champaign, own a dog, knit and craft, and love to cook. I’m surprised I don’t know you. Or maybe I do! I’m Jenna!

4. Masa Boats on the Prairie, and Other Pleasures of Champaign-Urbana « merp - November 17, 2009

[…] strawberries in early summer!  Very small, slightly sour, but add sugar, perhaps make freezer preserves, and experience true strawberry […]

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