Thursday, July 14, 2011

3 Days of Pickle

Three Days of making pickle and I don't even eat the stuff. However, it does make for some bomb diggity chicken salad  (or my family lied at the beach). Yes mam...chicken salad. Delish. This is the only form in which I consume mayonnaise.

Last week I had my first session of canning pickles since I was about 10 at my grandmas house. One of my BFF's also just recently blogged about this same here event. Her blog prolly better and I know this. She has got mad blogging skills right? And her hubby can thrown down on helping with some canning procedures.Double Bonus.

Moving on to chapters 1-3 of my canning adventures.

First, I didn't even want anyone to know that I was making pickle in case I some how royally screwed it up. I had my mom and my M.I.L on backup in case mine was a complete BUST. Not at all hard to do considering I had to do a training last week, I  was sick, I had to do claims processing, and pack for three to da beach all in the same 3 days I needed to bathe and preserve these babies. So here we are...

Chapter 1- Wash and Soak - this takes foreva....

This strainer is an excellent contraption. It can extend its arms to stretch out over the sink. Way better than the round kind you have to sit in the sink. PERFECT for rinsing.

Use a soft vegetable brush to help get off all the stuck-on dirt. This one was given to me by my fave sister-in-law. :) 

Here is the pickling lime I used. The recipe is actually on the back of the package too

This looked weird and the lime can get all over everything if you are not careful.

All the lime sinks to the bottom and I was like, "whatev...I don't even know if it's even doing the job."

After cleaning and cutting up your pickle you have to soak in lime water. I let mine soak over night until the next morning when I got up. The lime makes them crispy and firm. Just right for picklin.'

Moving on to chapter 2:

The next morning, I discarded the lime water and washed the pickles 3-4 times to remove the lime. Afterwards, I covered the pickles with ice in my sink (which was super really clean by the way) all day. I got home at 8:45 that night before I  began making the syrup for their little spa day.
super clean sink + ice
That night when I got home I had to make the syrup for their day 2 soak. Fun stuff I tell you. Especially when I had been at work for about 12 straight hours that day. Fun. Fun. Fun.
Vinegar, sugar, pickling spice, + salt. This looks so interesting. You can put the pickling spice in cheesecloth but I didn't have any. So its just floating around in there. You have to bring the mixture to a boil and then add the cucumber to soak overnight.
don't they look so refreshing and crispy?

At this point I thought maybe I didn't have enough syrup for all the cucumber. A foreshadowing here.
 I let them soak overnight until about 8:00 pm the next day.

Day 3: Cucumber Spa Day: I started again late on day 3. The pickles are already in the syrup. They just need to be boiled for 45 minutes in the syrup.  Then, I packed the jars 3/4 full with the hot pickle. You have to leave room for the hot syrup plus 1 inch of head-space around the base of the rim. Then, place the lids on and screw the rings on real tight. 

I used a can strainer to remove most of the pickling spice when pouring in the syrup. Good Lawd it was messy! Which is why I lost a little extra syrup.
I also used a boiling water bath to make sure that the lids sealed. My canning class totally freaked me out about botulism and bacteria if you don't get the internal temperature hot enough also. I boiled them submersed in water for 10 minutes. Some people skip this step but I don't play when it comes to food. If there is any question, I won't eat it and I don't want to waste my efforts!
I also got to use my mega fabulous Paula Deen stock pot we got for a wedding gift. perfect for canning and so trendy in my kitchen!

The new "bump" must have really helped because all my lids sealed woohoooo. Gives a new meaning to the canning term "head-space" don't ya think???
My only downfall was 4 pint sized jars that didn't have enough syrup to put in the jars. Next time I will not use quite as much cucumber or I will pay closer attention to how much I have. But, I did have enough to make chicken salad for the beach...BONUS. Overall, a first A+ pickling experience for Moi. :) 

1 comment:

  1. Looks good :) my momma makes sweet pickles which her recipe calls for them to sit longer... we dont use lime i wonder... lol i must try that stuff.


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