August 22, 2012

Pickles!

It's been a cucumber jungle here, but thankfully my mother-in-law can eat about 5 every day...and she's been taking some to her sister. We've also been taking some to church. But now our jungle is reaching it's end so we decided to make pickles! Now I grew up helping my mom with canning. She canned EVERYTHING and still does for the most part. I loved going out to our pantry and seeing row upon row of yummy things! And I grew up loving the sound of {pop} that a sealing jar makes. So I eagerly tackled trying out canning on my own.

My husband's grandma also canned everything...but her stash made my mom's look miniscule! And man, talk about a jar cemetery! The barn loft is full of every shape and size of jar! But they are also absolutely FILTHY! My husband was super sweet and told me to go buy us some brand new jars to start our own collection. There is something rather appealing about sparkling new jars!

I decided that for this first venture I would go with a pickling mix so that I would have everything I needed this time around. And to reduce the chance of user error! LOL!

 As you can see we have cucumbers that were wayyyyy too big for pickling whole, so we decided to go with making pickle chips this time around. Some of these big mamas I had to slice in half or quarters to get them to fit in the jars.
 Baby Britches LOVED helping me fill the jars. We went with wide-mouth pint jars this time around. Mostly because I couldn't find any quart jars at our local store. But these are awfully cute and just right for pickles. We crammed these puppies with as many slices as we could. Meanwhile I had the pickle juice concoction boiling on the stove. Whew. Do NOT put your face right over cooking pickle juice--ESPECIALLY if you are wearing contacts! That vinegar burns!!!!! LOL! But boy, it sure smelled good! I did two batches--1st batch was Bread & Butter and the second batch was Sweet.
Here are my jars just out of the boiling water bath--waiting to seal. {Pop} {Pop}...love that sound! If Baby Britches heard it he'd coming running and point at the jars! LOL!

My husband was so sweet. While we were in the middle of canning, he offered to buy us pizza for dinner. And then he took my place so I could pick it up and started cutting cucumbers and manning the boiling water bath. We didn't have the right utensils so had to make do with tongs--and he figured out how to finagle them just so and took care of removing all the hot jars for me.

By the end of the night we had 14 jars of Bread & Butter and 14 jars of Sweet...and only one jar couldn't be shelved! The boys are dying to bust into it this evening. I sure hope they taste good, but I'm confident it will since I used a mix this time around.

Here are my jars after I labeled them (with my label maker!!) and stored them in the cellar. 

I love seeing them there!

So that is my first adventure with canning...next up--SALSA! And I won't be using a mix because I have some DELICIOUS recipes for making my own salsa that I'm dying to try.

Canning is oh so satisfying because you get to see immediate rewards for all your labor--and then continue to reap the rewards long after the process is complete! I am happy that I can provide for my family this way...

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