Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Adventures in Pickle Making

Somehow or other our entire extended family ran out of Mama's homemade Southern sweet pickles this year! Without these special pickles, chicken and potato salad are just blah. My siblings and I have been pitching in to make the pickles, since my Mama isn't physically able to do so any more.

Over the weekend I made the first pickles I have ever made entirely by myself.

The recipe is found on the back of the Mrs. Wages Pickling Lime box and you can see it HERE.

This was just a trial run to test the recipe. Our cucumbers have just started bearing, so we only had enough to make 1/7 of the recipe. It takes some math to figure out the amount of each ingredient to make 1/7 of a recipe, but it can be done. Over the weekend we also cooked a turkey which I posted about on Monday. I made a big bowl of turkey salad last night from the leftovers using the pickles and the pickles make such a difference.

These are some of the tools needed to make pickles. I need to buy a canning jar lifter. My handbook said I could use some "stout" tongs, so I used these. They worked ok, but I definitely need the jar lifter!

These are the ingredients needed for the pickles. The fact that there is a lot of sugar in the pickles contributes greatly to their deliciousness.

The pickles go through three periods of soaking in different ingredients. First is the lime soak. Second is the ice water soak. Here are the pickles soaking in the sugar, vinegar and spices.

I plan to buy a basic water bath canner, but for this trial of the recipe I placed a folded towel in the bottom of my biggest pot. The purpose of the rack in the canner is simply to keep the jars from touching each other and the bottom of the pot.

Since I was only making two pints, this worked out ok. But, I need a real canner if I am going to do much pickle making or other canning.

If these guys keeping growing as fast as they have this week, I will soon be making a full batch of the pickles.

The cucumber vines should soon start growing all over this trellis that my hubby made.

My 53rd summer is going to be a busy!


Impera_Magna said...

Oooo... lookit the PICKLES! I love homemade pickles!!! And lookit all the blossoms on your cucumber vines! Your 53rd summer will go down in history as "The Pickling Summer!"

Granny said...

Bread and butter pickles are my favorite. I can eat them like candy. The trellis for the cucumbers looks great. Hope you have a great summer. It's finally starting to dry out here so that we can plant vegetables.

Susannah said...

I love pickles. My favorite pickle is my Grandma's icicle pickle. We all have her recipe and we all make them on and off. More often , we make her bread and butter pickles.

Your 53rd year is going to be fun with all the preserving of your garden vegetables. I hope you show us all of your work.

Thanks for sharing this great post!


Pen Pen said...

Go Debbie! I made cinnamon pickles when I was a very young bride (using red hot cinnamon candies). I loved them. I remember not having the time to really make them, as it took several days, and I was working 12 hour shifts. I think I remember taking the whole "mess" to my mom's house so she could help me with the process, and then bringing it back to my house. LOL I'm jealous that you have cucumbers already... I bought some at the farmer's market this past weekend and they were so yummy. My garden is pitiful this year and I will be lucky to get enough to eat one meal. :(

Auntie M said...

That is a wonderful trellis for the cukes.

I believe that this is the same sweet pickle recipe which I use.
Must make some this summer for I
am about out.

I also have a recipe for making sweet cucumber relish which is very similar. You cut the cukes into small cubes prior to pickling. So much easier than cubing drippy syrupy pickles. And, they are ready to fold into the potato or chicken salad immediately.

Your summer is off to a busy start.

Denise said...

They look delicious Debbie!

Mom2fur said...

Good job! My mother makes pickles like that, too. Mine are dillish (I don't like sweet pickles) and for the fridge. I just posted a recipe a blog post or two ago.
I hope that I have as much luck with my cucumbers as you seem to be having with yours. I've got 4 tomato plants and 1 cucumber going. I don't usually 'do' cucumbers but I thought, what the heck. We'll see!

ancient one said...

Those pictures of your pickles make my mouth water.

Seems like I remember messing with those cinnamon pickles (Penpen)

I love pickles, all kinds. But for some reason my favorites are store bought pickles.

Our cukes are almost ready to pick. We picked our first squash today.

Susan said...

I love sweet pickles! Do you call them bread and butter pickles? That's what my Granny called them. I've never even considered trying pickles. Looks like yours came out good!

Rhonda said...

Looks good! I love canning, but don't do it because I feel intimidated. But you are inspiring me. :)

Eileen said...

I love bread 'n butter pickles! They are the pickles from my childhood - other than green tomato pickles.

I have used a towel in a dutch oven to can things. It worked well for me.

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