Sunday, July 24, 2011

MIA and Pickles

Well I have been a bit MIA lately.  We had a bit of sickness in our extended family (all is ok now) and then went on vacation.  I am swamped at work now (summer and fall are my busy seasons) but I have been able to do a bit around the house and managed to document making some pickles!  I am sorry for the crappy pictures- no excuse today for it!

Refrigerator Bread and Butter Pickles

1) Clean and sterilize your jars and lids- I don't have a picture of this step because as I was finishing up the thought hit me that I should post this on the blog... sorry about that!

2) Cut up your pickling cucumbers and lay them on a double layer of paper towel and sprinkle with pickling salt.   Regular salt will cause the cucumbers to discolor. Let them sit for about 20 minutes or so.

3) In the meantime, place your vinegar, sugar, pickling spices and pepper flakes in a pan.  Bring to a boil and then a quick simmer for about 20 minutes.  I tied mine up in a piece of cheese cloth.

4) Additionally, place your lids in simmering water so they stay hot.  Your bands can hang out to the side.

5)Cut your onion in this slices and set aside.

6) When your vinegar mixture is ready, take your hot jars, pace your cucumbers in with a few slices on onion, a hot pepper and a pinch of pickling crisp.  Pickling crisp helps to keep your pickles crisp - duh :)

7) Leaving about a 1/2 inch head space ladle in your vinegar mixture.  Use this handy dandy tool to get rid of any air bubbles and to measure your head space.  Head space is very important because as things expand and contract in canning, you want to make sure you always have room.  Check your recipe to see how much head space you should have.

8) Wipe the top of the jar with a moist rag to ensure a good seal.  Put on the lid and screw on the band.  Leave on your counter until cool then put in to fridge.  Wait a few days for the cucumbers to "pickle" then eat within the next few months.  These must be kept in the refrigerator as they have not been properly processed and could grow all kinds of things that might upset your tummy.
A few hints and tips-
Pickleing crips really helps, but not biggie if you can't find any- I got mine at Wally World
Keep everything (jars, lids and liquid) crazy hot!
Try and slice your cucumbers in 1/4 inch slices
Use only pickling cucumbers and make sure to scrub any waxy substance off if you get them from a store
Wipe the top of the jars off so you get a good seal!
Make sure to use vinegar with at least a 5% acity.  It will read like this fancy lable

That is it... leave a comment if you have any questions!  I have peaches to do next!
I am linking to Skip to my Lou...