One crazy day at a life!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Pickle Canning Adventures


My sister-in-law and I decided to attempt canning this year.  I have to say that it was a fun and long process.  I felt like my grandmother at times since she would have done this many, many years ago quite regularly.

So SIL and I went to the farmer’s market on Saturday looking for cucumbers of various sizes that we could transform into pickles.  We found tons of cucumbers at a pretty good price.  They even had baskets of tiny cucumbers so we could make dills which are my favourite!

We decided to do the canning at my SIL’s house and she went to buy most of the supplies we needed while Dre and I watched her kids.  Apparently, even though a pile of cucumbers can look like a mountain of cucumbers it’s still a pileJ  We thought we had way more cucumbers than we did and bought a ton of canning jars.  After washing them all this is what they all looked like.

Cucumbers waiting to become dill pickles!' 
Closeup of the future dill pickles.

The mountain of massive cucumbers that made bread and butter pickles and icicle pickles.
The ones on the right are all from my SIL's garden.  She had mutant, giant cucumber plants this year!

So we started early on Monday (around 10am).  We had to peel some of the cucumbers, slice some of the other ones, as well as slice onions and peppers.  Around this time, I called Dre to come and help us because the prep work was kicking our asses!  When he arrived with extra onions and saw me dicing them, he goes “Why aren’t you using your food processor for that?”  Hmmm, good question!  SIL and I completely forgot that we own them and that they would have diced the damn veggies and some of the cucumbers in about 5 minutes.  We’re smart like that!

We started stuffing some of our jars with cucumbers that would soon be turned into dill pickles.  This is when we ran into our biggest problem which would also be a re-occuring problem.  The liquid for the pickles was not our friend! 

We made a batch of the dill liquid to go in the jars according the Dre and SIL’s grandma’s recipe and started filling jars.  (Remember, first canners here!)  While SIL is filling the jars, I’m nervously hoping the things don’t explode from the hot liquid since we haven’t warmed up to containers since BIL’s grandma hadn’t said anything about it when explaining how to get the lids to pop.  At the same time, Dre is trying to fish lids out of the boiling water with tongs that don’t work while wearing oven mitts.  Hilarious!  I should have taken a picture.  Anyways, we figure out that the lids cool off pretty fast and that we can use our hands if we go quickly (not to fish them out of the boiling water ppl…sheesh).  Then…we run out of dill liquid.  Really? 

In the meantime, Dre decides to go back to cleaning the house and the baby room ‘cause 2 women yelling at him in the kitchen is making him batty.  Hehehe!  Poor man!

We made another batch of liquid and I think we actually managed to run out one more time before finishing the dill pickles.  We’re talented like that!

By the time we got around to making the bread and butter pickles we finally got the hang of putting the lids on the jars fast enough and flipping them upside down to get them to pop, but we ran out of liquid…again!  This time we calculated how much liquid we were putting in every jar and made that exact amount of liquid.  We ended up with way too much liquid.  Weird!  We can count, I swear!

Then we went on to making icicle pickles.  I’ve never tasted these by the way.  But SIL and Dre claim that they are the pickles from the gods!  We’ll see since I love, love, love dill pickles.  The problem is that icicle pickles are made with Apple Cider Vinegar which is the NASTIEST smelling stuff ever.  (SIL’s kitchen smelled like it for a couple of days!)  Also, we didn’t make enough liquid again.  We don’t learn from our mistakes; we just keep doing them again and again!

Eventually, (4PM) we were done and we still had 2 cases of 1L jars and 8 500ML jars.  Since we have now become canning pros, we just figured that we’d make applesauce and can that instead of returning the unused jars.  We like challenges!  So we are applesauce making in a couple of weeks…wish us luck…we need it!

Here are all the pickles.  Pretty aren’t they?

All hanging out upside down to make sure they pop and get properly vacuum sealed.

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