Pickles!

An impulse purchase while at the St. Jacob’s Market with my kids in the fall committed me to making a large batch of pickles. I have done canning plenty of times before for my favourite salsa recipe so all I had to do was learn how to make pickles. Turns out there is plenty to do in preparation for the canning.

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First step was to unload the bushel of cucumbers into a tub, and fill the tub with water. My son loves to have a convenient excuse to use the hose.

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Getting the bucket nice and full.

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Next up, we get some bowls out to hold the clean cucumbers in, get out a scrub brush, put a cucumber cigar in our mouths, and clean.

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Never has my oldest been this enthusiastic and thorough about cleaning anything. But pickles were at stake.

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Clean pickles, all lined up, and covered with pickling salt. Apparently I could/should have been more generous with my use of the salt. They sit like this for while.

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Get the stuff for packing them into the jars all ready. Due to the size of the cucumbers I opted to slice them up to get more into each jar. Into each sterilized jar (boiled in water for a while), I added 4 cloves garlic (sliced up), 4 peppercorns, and some dill. Then I packed in the cucumber slices.

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Here are the jars, ready to go.

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Packing the jars was another kid-friendly activity for everyone.

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Precise cucumber placement is key.

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Here is a packed jar, filled with the brine and closed. There are many recipes for brine, but it is basically water, vinegar, salt and sugar. Different recipes have different quantities of each, and sometimes other additives such as hot pepper or mustard. The Pickles are a bright green right now. Once they are canned in the boiling water bath, they change colour to a dull green.

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And here they are, boiled and sealed. My favourite part is listening to the tops “pop” shut as they cool after being in the boiling water bath.

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And here are all the jars of pickles, lined up and ready for storage. Our bushel from the market produced 17 1-litre jars of pickles. Took us over a year to eat them all.  As I mentioned earlier, I didn’t add enough salt earlier in the process so they weren’t as desirable as the store-bough variety, so next time I need to try a slightly different recipe.

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