Two years ago my great uncle Zelotese gave me a grocery sack full of pickling cucumbers. I took them because I love cucumbers, not because I had any intentions of actually pickling them. Until I thought about it and drove to Walmart late one night to pick up my own canning supplies. And now I'm hooked on making pickles. And even though I'm proud of winning a blue ribbon at this past fall's SC State Fair for my dill pickles, what really makes me feel good is seeing my boys enjoy eating my pickles. Our families and friends love them, too. Being pregnant (I'm at 33 weeks now), however, has zapped a lot of my energy and I wasn't sure I was going to tackle pickling this summer or not.
But our garden continues to produce about a gallon cucumbers a day and our refrigerator was getting crowded...so....I made pickles!
Here's the garden harvest from Wednesday.
In the past I've always canned after the boys are asleep (after 8 p.m.) but I knew I wasn't up for the process late at night this year so I had a babysitter come over and watch the boys this morning from 9-11:30 so I could be "in a pickle."
I tried a new recipe this year, from the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving--Hamburger Dills. Kosher Dills have been my specialty in the past but I'm going the non-garlic route this year to try a new taste.
Ashley bought me this food scale a while back. Finally I know how many pickles it takes to make 4 lbs!
For the hamburger dills, I sliced all of the cucumbers. I need to purchase a mandoline to make this easier--but honestly, I like chopping and dicing!
Prepping my work station...
Jar #1 ready to process!
For my next batch, I tried the Better Homes and Gardens' Plaid Cookbook's Dill Pickle Recipe. I made spears and chips for these and some jars had fresh dill while others had dill seeds.
I always make notes on my recipes, including dating when I first make something.
14 pints of pickles ready to go! Last year I made twice that many but I don't know if I'll get around to more this year or not. I'd like to try bread and butter pickles but we'll just have to see how my energy holds up.
I can't promise friends or family that I'll be sending jars of pickles home this year--you'll have to come visit to try these out (they'll be ready in a month).