Sunday, July 11, 2010

Canning Pickles: Two Batches Down and A Blue Ball Canning Book To Go!

"On a hot day in Virginia, I know nothing more comforting than a fine spiced pickle, brought up trout-like from the sparkling depths of the aromatic jar below the stairs of Aunt Sally's cellar." Thomas Jefferson

Bread and Butter Pickles

Canning has always intimidated me but I've heard it is quite necessary when growing a garden and I am starting to see why. Cucumbers are arriving by the arm load full almost every morning and zucchinis are becoming more and more our morning garden greetings.

Time and again, I read or was told to start with the Ball Blue Book Guide To Home Canning, Freezing & Dehydration. I got one many years ago and never used it and don't know what I did with it and then bought another somewhere around 1998. The info is apparently timeless so I am making this a worn out cookbook already!

I've been reading on boiling water methods, pressure canning, packing, pickling, and putting up foods in all kinds of ways! I'm learning what foods are high acid and which are low acid and why it is so important to pay attention to processing plans between the two. Highly recommend this book!

VERY first canning batch done by myself: (from the above mentioned book) -

Bread and Butter Pickles

4 pounds 4- to 6- inch cucumbers, cut into slices (we don't have a kitchen scale right now so we are using our regular weight scale!
2 pounds of onions, thinly sliced (about 8 small) --- I used Vidalia!
1/3 cup canning salt
2 cups of sugar
2 T. mustard seed
2 t. turmeric
2 t. celery seed
1 t. ginger
1 t. peppercorns (I used a peppercorn blend I had on hand)
3 cups vinegar

Combine cucumber and onion slices in a large bowl. Layer vegetables with salt; cover with ice cubes. Let stand 1 1/2 hours. Drain; rinse; drain again. Combine remaining ingredients in a large saucepot; bring to a boil. Add drained cucumbers and onions and return to a boil. Pack hot pickles and liquid into hot jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Adjust two-piece caps. Process 10 minutes in a boiling-water canner. Yield: about 7 pints.

 2nd batch of canning was today:

Cucumber Chips

6 pounds 4-inch to 5-inch cucumbers, cut into 1/4 inch slices
1/2 cup canning salt
1 T. turmeric
1 quart plus 3 cups vinegar, divided
1 quart plus 1 cup water, divided
2 cups white sugar
2 sticks cinnamon
1 1/4-x1-inch piece of gingerroot
1 T. mustard seed
1 t. whole cloves
2 cups brown sugar

Put cucumber slices in a large bowl; sprinkle salt over cucumber slices; mix thoroughly. Let stand 3 hours. Drain; rinse and drain thoroughly. Combine turmeric, 3 cups vinegar and 1 quart water; bring to a boil; pour over cucumbers. Let stand until cold; drain. Taste cucumbers; if too salty, rinse thoroughly; drain. Combine white sugar, 1 quart vinegar and 1 cup water. Tie spices in a spice bag; add to pickling liquid . Simmer 15 minutes; pour pickling liquid over cucumbers. Let stand 12-24 hours in a cool place. Remove spice bag and pickles. Combine pickling liquid and brown sugar; bring to a boil. Pack cucumber slices into hot jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Ladle hot liquid over cucumbers, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Adjust two-piece caps. Process 10 minutes in a boiling water canner. Yield: about 3 pints. I got 8 pint sized canning jars! I can't imagine six pounds of cucumbers filling only 3 pints!

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