Posted by Nate in Day to Day, Garden.
Sunday, August 6th, 2006 at 10:17 pm

So… We planted cucumbers way back when, and sure enough they grew and we got lots of cukes. Then our CSA veggie share started sending cukes our way. With Karen out of town and a million pounds of other veggies to get through, what’s a guy to do? Make pickles!

Once again, the internets saved the day. I had a vague idea of how this might work – is it just cucumbers and vinegar? – but no real definite plan. The first thing I found out was how to tell if your cucumbers are good for pickling or if they’re too ripe, and unfortunately most of ours were well over-ripe. Also probably not the best variety for pickling. But there were still plenty of cukes in good shape, including the CSA ones, so I got to cutting and soaking the slices in a salt water brine for most of the day.

Then this evening I cut up 2 onions and peeled a million cloves of garlic. Using my homebrewing know-how I skipped the pre-boiling of the jars and lids, and after a thorough cleaning just threw them into a sanitizing solution for a bit. Put the garlic and onions on the bottom along with rounded tablespoon of the "pickling spices" from our local co-op, and started shoving cucumber slices in the jars! I had read that for a crisper pickle you can heat to 180 and hold it for longer rather than boiling, so that’s what’s happening as I type.

As soon as I started hearing pings and creaks from the jars, I knew I had trouble on my hands – all the directions mention some magical device for removing the piping-hot jars from the water, and I of course had procured no such device. Hmm. But hey! I deal with piping-hot liquids all the time in the form of unfermented beer! I have heat-safe tubing! I’ll just siphon off the water from the pot and carry the whole thing downstairs gently to cool. Awesome.

So, a big adventure. I know how Karen loves her pickles, with any luck these won’t be terrible – I may crack a jar in a week to see how they’re doing, but everything I read said they’ll be much better in a few weeks to months. Maybe a little pickle party on the North Shore in a few weeks! (if she makes it… fingers crossed.)

Also a few projects in the "development" stage for the house – mostly lighting, and mostly around the basement. I’ll post more once there’s more to post!

PS – Bruno misses you, Karen.

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3 Responses to “Pickles!”

  1. nator Says:

    I just checked the jars this morning and all the lids have negative pressure with a good seal. Sweet! Oh, and I forgot to mention I also put some heads of dill in each jar. So they’re like a combination of dill and garlic and onion and spices. Yum…

  2. Rick Says:

    Nator – you are one productive gardener. The pickles remind me of our wine a bit – gets better over time. But who likes to wait that long? Speaking of which, Mom and I sampled a bottle of our 3 month old Spanish Rioja the other day and it was very good. But it will likely improve more with a bit more time.

  3. steve Says:

    my mouth is watering – can you save a jar until Feb/March?