Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Pickle Expedition

It seems like a lot of hoopla over something so small. I must confess, it is but they are my pickles not just something generic that I picked up at a whim in the grocery store. It's a commitment.
Wednesday morning I took another trip to Trauger's to get beets and more pickling cucumbers. When leaving the house I noticed that we lacked vinegar and my mom wanted tomato juice so I took a trip to the nearest supermarket, the IGA in Frenchtown, New Jersey. This was something different. I had never drove acrossed those bridges let alone by myself. It's scary knowing that about twenty feet below the Delware River is churning and that one false move could send you hurling to your death. Okay, maybe that is a little dramatic but it was a big deal to me.
Anyway, once I got the vinegar and tomato juice I headed back to PA. The next leg of my journey was enjoying the river scenery ((and dogging the many potholes that grace the road)). A few minutes later, and after worrying about taking the wrong turn, I arrived that Trauger's. I swear, that place is my happy place. Old farm house, river setting, acres of plants that produce food to make very good food. That's is my place, if I dare say, a little more homier than my own home. There I snagged 15 good sized pickling cucumber, to add with my existing 30 smaller ones, for $3, and 2 good bunches of beets for $2 a piece. I also snagged a packet of Mrs. Wages Kosher Dill Pickle mix for $2.50 just in case the other mix was too little.
I'm glad I did because I ended up processing twelve pint jars and one gallon of fridge style because I didn't have any wide mouth lids. Lesson two and three learned.
To those that are curious, it's very easy to make pickles with or without a packaged mix and with or without a water bath canner.
First, get your canner or stock pot to a boil.
Meanwhile, wash your jars and set them in warm water until ready to use. Some people say to boil them but it's not nessisary. If you wash them in warm enough water they'll be sterilized and if you keep them in warm water they will not break.
Next, follow your packet's intructions or if you want to make them from stratch go here.
While you're waiting for the brine to boil pack your cucumbers in the jars. Remember keep them warm. To activate the glue on the lids you can place them in a pan of water on low or dip them in the canner for a few seconds (when your ready to seal).
Once your brine in to a boil pour it into your jars and cap. Process jars according to the intructions.Lastly, enjoy your pickles year round. Looking at the jars just seem romantic. Sigh. The cost per jar, not including energy is about sixy-five cents per jar.


Karen Sue said...

My cucs are pretty big...thinking I missed the pickle stage. But I didn't have many anyway. I know a place to possibly get some, but wondered about cutting big cucumbers into dill slices...hmm...I did pick my first zucchini! And the tomatoes are ripening quite nicely.

Rachel B. said...

Well, pickles are usually made from cucumbers that are specifically for pickling because they are small and the seeds are small. If you don't mind large seeds in your pickles regular cucumbers will be fine.

Karen Sue said...

Going to my mom's house today with a new batch of pickle cucumbers to try it out..

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