When my hubby and I first got together, we had some burgers one night…it actually was my first burger in 14years, after a long period without ground meat, red meat or meat in general. I placed the assorted toppings from the fridge, which included a jar of homemade pickles. “What kind of pickles are these?” he asked “Why? ” I said. (don’t you love answering questions with questions?!) “The’re really good.” he said. “They’re mine.” I said. “Yeah, but where’d you get em?”he pressed on. “No, they’re mine- I made em.” he called his daughter to the kitchen (she was 3 at the time) she took a bite and exclaimed “That was the best pickle ever!” I said “Yay!” Now, when we run out of pickles it’s just something I have to do…. like when you run out of toilet paper. You get my drift.
I decided to learn how to can when I found this book on the “lost arts” of life. All the things we (as people) used to make ourselves has gone away with supermarkets. Everything from bread making, olive curing, soap making, wine making, yogurt making and of course- canning and preserving.
I got “into” the canning. Once you realize the “rules” it’s simple. It does take some time- but the reward is a cute little pantry stocked with love. Now, here are the rules in my own words- but this is not to be used as instructions- READ THE BOOK LET THAT COMES WITH YOUR CANNER! This is just a introduction in case you’ve always kinda though about canning, etc.
1st- start with clean jars. No chips, cracks, etc-same goes for the 2 piece lids. I prefer the wide mouth jars for pickles. Easier to get your hand in there when they are ready to eat.
2nd- heat the jars (I boil mine because I like sterile things) heat the lid and bands to 180°F DON’T LET THE FLAT LID BOIL (it won’t seal right)
3rd in my opinion, that’s the most time consuming part- which is like a total of 15minutes, maybe?
Now, what I do while my jars are boiling and lids are simmering is prepare the innards of the jars 🙂
(this is an adaptation from the Ball Blue Book Of Canning)
1 qt white vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 c canning salt
1 qt water
fresh dill, chopped (about 1cup)
3 tbs Frontier (from the health food store) brand pickling spice
1 sp chopped garlic
Place the pickling spice and garlic into a piece of cheesecloth
place the other ingredients into a saucepan and simmer 15 minutes
While it’s simmering- prep your pickles cucumbers. Duh- they’re not pickles yet.I usually get about 8lbs.That will make 7pts or 3qts .
Get the best kirbys you can, wash them well and cut off the end. (the stem)you can slice them any way-or leave them whole. Pack them snugly in the hot jars, leaving 1/4″ space at the top. Line up your jars and carfully ladle the hot liquid into them, leaving 1/4″headspace. Remove air bubbles by running a clean knife along the inside of the glass. Place the 2 piece caps on each jar and tighten just enough- not too tight. Place the jars in a canning rack, and boil fully submerged (that’s called processing) for 15minutes. When time is up, remove jars and set out to cool 24hrs. If you listen carefully you may hear ” POP,POP” that’s the vacuum seal working. My hubby likes that noise. They taste best after they sit for 3 weeks.
A few notes- please read your instructions, have all your equipment out and ready before you begin, and have fun.