Friday, July 29, 2011

Pickles, pickles and more pickles!

I know I've mentioned a time or two hundred that I was overflowing with cucumbers and zucchini.  Sadly, all the plants have died :(  However, I tried to make the most of my 'harvest'.  We ate cucumbers everyday, and I made 3 different batches of pickles.  Yep, 3 different recipes, b/c I've never made pickles before and I didn't know which one was best.  So, I thought I'd give y'all a little recap....
I made spears and slices.  Much love to whoever invented the food processor.  And my sister, who is the original owner of above processor. 

For my first pickle making attempt, I went the easy route...Mrs. Wages Dill Pickle Mix! (Again, from my sister. Everyone needs an awesome little sis like mine!)
cukes and a few banana peppers all ready to go
After their 'water bath'. 
Am I the only one who gets excited to hear those little popping sounds of the jars sealing?  Yeah, I'm a nerd.  These pickles were very good!  They stayed nice and crispy, with a good dill flavor (I'm not a sweet pickle fan).  They are a little salty...but they are dill pickles.  My daughter loves them and ate an entire jar in one sitting.  Hypertension anyone?

For the 2nd go-round, I got a little braver.  I wanted to make sour pickles, but was not interested in the whole fermenting thing where they have to sit for days, etc.  Even though from what I've read/heard, that is the best way to make pickles.  I went with a recipe I found online....
Quick Sour Pickles from Cooks.com
  • 25 medium cucumbers
  • 1/2 gallon cider vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup canning salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup mustard seed
Wash cucumbers and slice lengthwise. Pack into jars.

Combine vinegar, water, salt, sugar and mustard seed. Bring mixture to a rolling boil.

Place a canning funnel into jar. Fill to within 1/2 inch of jar top with boiling vinegar mixture. Adjust caps.

Process in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes. Remove to a draft free place to cool using a jar lifter.

Yields about 8 pints.   Submitted by: CM

Verdict?  I love them.  They are not the best sour pickles I've ever had, but they are nice and sour and crisp. And they were pretty simple to make.  I'll be saving this one to make again next year. 

3rd go round...I wanted to try a recipe using pickling spices and fresh dill.  (Fresh dill was not easy to find around here. Note to self - grow dill next year!)
 I went with the Dill Pickles from Ball Blue Book of Preserving (*which I keep mentally referring to as the 'Blue Ball' Book of Preserving - I know I'm going to accidentally say that to someone. And it might be embarrassing.)  I found the recipe here.

(Yield: about 7 pints or 3 quarts)

8 pounds 4-6 inch cucumbers, cut length-wise into halves

¾ cup sugar

½ cup canning salt

1 quart vinegar (white or cider vinegar, 5% acidity)

1 quart water

3 tablespoons mixed pickling spices

Green or dry dill (1 head per jar)

Wash cucumbers; drain. Combine sugar, salt, vinegar and water in a large sauce pot. Tie spices in a spice bag; add spice bag to vinegar mixture; simmer 15 minutes. Pack cucumbers into hot jars, leaving ¼ inch headspace; put one head of dill in each jar. Ladle hot liquid over cucumbers, leaving ¼ inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Adjust two-piece caps. Price pints and quarts 15 minutes in a boiling water canner. (note: start counting from the minute jars hit the boiling water canner).

Recipe variation: For Kosher-style dill Pickles add 1 bay leaf, 1 clove garlic, 1 piece hot red pepper and ½ teaspoon mustard seed to each jar. Process as recommended.

Verdict - hmmm, I'm not sure about these.  They're okay.  I've only tried the slices, and they weren't chilled, but they weren't crisp, which I didn't like.  The flavor was unique...something like a bread n' butter with a little more dill flavor - if that makes sense.  So, I didn't not like them, but I didn't immediately love them either. I'll have to get some other opinions and let you know.

then I made this
This has no name and no recipe.  This is a mo'betta creation that has yet to be taste-tested.  It's cucumbers, peppers and onions with the leftover brine from the last recipe.  It was an experiment.  Hopefully it will taste like some sort of edible relish.  I'll let you know!

I was pretty sick of seeing cucumbers after making all these pickles, but now I'm sad that my plants are gone! I hate the idea of buying a cucumber!  Of course, I also made these!  I've yet to try these either, but I was intrigued at being able to freeze cucumbers.

Freezer Cucumbers from Sidewalk Shoes

7 c. thinly sliced cucumbers

3 med. onions, sliced

1 green pepper, chopped

2 c. sugar

1 c. vinegar

1/2 tsp. celery seed

1 tbsp. salt

Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl. Refrigerate for 24 hours. Put in containers and freeze. Great side dish in the middle of winter…just defrost and serve!

I'm linking this post up with Homemaker on a Dime, Delightfully Dowling, Mouthwatering Monday @ A Southern Fairytale, Skip to my Lou, Just Something I Whipped Up @ The Girl CreativeDelicious Dishes at It's a Blog Party, Tuesdays at the Table at All the Small Stuff,  Hearth and Soul Blog Hop, Dr. Laura's Tasty Tuesday, Tasty Tuesdays @ 33 Shades of Green, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, Made from Scratch Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday @ For The Love Of Blogs,Blue Cricket Design, At Home with Haley, Lady Behind the Curtain,  Little Brick Ranch, These Chicks Cooked, Miz Helen's Country CottageMangoes and Chutney for Fat Camp Fridays, EKat's Kitchen (currently being held at Girlichef), Simply Delish, Feeding Four, It's a Keeper, Bacon Time with the Hungry Hungry Hypo, The Sweet Details for Savory Sunday
Also linking up for Canning Week - Photobucket

8 comments:

  1. Very sad you didn't do sweet pickles! They are about the only pickles I like! Of course, I didn't have any cucumbers to make them with, so it's not a big loss. :-) Glad they turned out so well. I haven't been brave enough to try any pickling yet. I've just gotten into baking, so baby steps! ~ Paulette

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  2. They look fabulous! IF I get any more cucumbers...be it from my garden or the farmers market, I think I'll try a dill. Yours look divine. Now, I need to get my recipe on my blog, too!

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  3. I love pickles!

    I've never tried making my own but yours look yummy!

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  4. Hi, I found you at Homemaker on a Dime.

    Well, I guess I am a nerd too, lol, because I tried the Mrs. Wages mix this year (along with several other recipes) and we love the Mrs. Wages. I added garlic and hot pepper's to mine, and my daddy has already ate four jars. They actually turned out great! And were very little trouble.

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  5. I love homemade pickles! Your concoction looks a lot like chow chow, which is delicious!

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  6. I've been wanting to make pickles for a while now! Thanks for the recipe!!

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  7. Looks like you've been busy! Good to hear that the Mrs. Wages was pretty good, I've been wondering if I should give it a try:@)

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  8. I know that you have so many blog parties to choose from so thank you for choosing Creative Bloggers' Party & Hop. This post is added to the party blast! Enjoy the rest of the week :)

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