6.30.2009

We Got Pickled last night

Yesterday I went out to our little square foot garden and picked 32 lbs of big caveman club-looking cucumbers from our 4 ft wide, 7 ft. tall trellis. We let them get that big 'cause they were destined to become bread and butter-style pickles. Here is our recipe for this version complete with pickleee pictures:-) CAPPY AND PEGODY'S BREAD AND BUTTER PICKLES
Part One: The Brine
3 gallons of sliced cucumbers
1 gallon onions cut in half then sliced(about 10 medium)
1 1/2 cups kosher salt
4 large bell peppers julienned
4 chili peppers sliced
1 small bag of ice(8lbs)
After slicing and dicing and having a few beers, ya combine the veggies in a large pot. If ya aint got one, ya can use an ice chest; that works well too. Toss the veggies with the kosher salt then dump in the bag of ice, get it mixed well (running ya hands in warm sink water knocks the chill out). It needs to sit for 3 hours being stirred every half hour 'til the veggies 'sweat down'. A cold beer makes a good 30 minute timer; just be careful not to get pickled before the cucumbers do;-P After 3 hours add a gallon or so of tap water, melting any remaining ice, stir them around some then drain well. If ya aint got a big a gigantic collander, take a large loose-weave dish towel, stretch it over half of the top of the pot holding it tight and strain the water through it, leaving just the pickles in the pot.
Once the pickles are drained let them sit while ya construct the pickling syrup. Part Two: The PICKLING SPICES
10 cups of apple cider vinegar
10 cups of granulated suger(5 lb bag)
1 teaspoon tumeric
1 tablespoon whole cloves
2 tablespoons mustard seeds
2 teaspoons celery seeds
2 teaspoons black pepper corns
Combine vinegar and spices in a big pot and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes then add the brined cucumbers (first, drain any remaining water that may have accumluated under the pickles since the time you had drained them into the sink.) Then, using a cooking thermometer to check, bring the pickles to a temperature just over 200F degrees and hold it at that temperature for 5 minutes, then maintain that through the canning process. Part Three:The CANNING PROCESS
1 case of quart mason jars with lids
1 jar funnel
1 big spoon
1 ladle
dish towels
We place our cleaned jars in the oven and set it at 200F degrees, and place the lids and rings in a pot of water on the stove and bring them to 2ooF degrees, as well. Peggy and I have a well-practiced technique for this stage; I'm sure you will work out your own technique. If ya have any comments, questions or suggestions, please let us know. In a smooth motion, I grab a hot jar outa the oven, QUICKLY place it in my other hand in a folded dish towel. As I reach for the spoon, Peggy places the funnel in the jar. I spoon in the hot pickles 'til the jar is almost full then shake it a little to settle them down in the jar. I then ladle in some liquid to cover the pickles, then I reach for a lid and it's ring outa the water and shake them to remove "drippages". While doing this, Peggy removes the funnel and wipes the jar mouth. I place the lid and the ring onto the jar and give it a twist, then place it on the counter to cool. This is done faster than the time it took for me to type it. This will yield from 7 to 10 quarts of pickles; it 'pends on how thin ya slice your veggies and how much they sweat in the brine. The less ya get the more pickely they are. Find what you like, they are all good.
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