Sunday, July 19, 2009

In a Pickle

In my continuing adventures in home canning, I've started experimenting with the pickle. I'm crazy about pickles and have been known to eat almost an entire jar by myself. My husband always gives me a bad time about it, complaining that we never have any pickles in the fridge for sandwiches because I've gotten to the jar first.

I bought the home-canning kit specifically because I wanted to learn how to make pickles. But it's been a little trickier to learn than I thought it would be. First, you have to find the right cucumbers. The cucumbers at the grocery store won't work, because they are usually coated in a wax that makes pickling impossible (or so I've read).

I've been buying cucumbers at the farmers' market, but I haven't been able to find the gherkin-size cucumbers that my recipes call for. So I've been slicing the cucumbers up to get them to fit in the jar.

I'm lucky to have a "wild" dill patch growing in my garden. It's wild because I planted dill in these spots about two to three years ago, and the dill just keeps coming back each year with a vengeance. I later learned that dill can take over a garden if you're not careful, so it's best to plant it in a container. But it's too late for me now. I just keep pulling out the new dill shoots before they get too big. Here's what the dill looks like once it's seeded:

According to the recipe, I placed one sprig of dill in each jar, along with one garlic clove and a slice of jalapeno (at my husband's request). Overall, it was a pretty simple recipe: Just boil 2 c. water, 2. cups vinegar, 2 Tbls. pickling salt and 1 Tbl. sugar, then add the liquid to the jars stuffed with cucumbers. Here's the end result:

Unfortunately, I have to wait two weeks before I can dig into them, so I don't know if the recipe is a keeper or not. And I'll keep looking for little cucumbers, since my own pickle bush cucumbers aren't growing so well in our garden.

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