Thursday, July 30, 2009

Feeling Rather Pickled Myself

The cucumbers in and out of the high tunnel are ready. Bill picked nine pounds on Monday and by Wednesday they were begging to be picked again. I got about 10 pounds, although some were too big for pickling anymore. That's okay, my husband is plenty fine with cucumber snacks.

It's been a few years since I pickeled, and I had forgotten how FRUSTRATING it is. You see, the little package of Ball pickling mix tells me to cut up 7 pounds and prep 8 pint jar. Well seriously. No way.

I was able to get HALF that quantity into seven jars. And it took all the hot pickling syrup I had. So I guess I'm a really bad pickle packer. (Hmm...I think there's a Seuss book there.)

What am I supposed to do--carefully place these chunks in the jar one by one like puzzle pieces?? When I woke up this morning I saw that all my pickles have floated to the top of the jar, leaving like an inch of juice below. Arrgh!

Anyway, I quit at 7 jars because I was packing them about 11:30 p.m. last night when I remembered my boiling water canner only holds six jars at a time. And noooooo way was I saying up to boil two batches. The extra jar went straight to the fridge.

But seriously, I'm assuming most canners hold the same quantity as mine. So why wouldn't the Ball recipe be designed to produce batches in increments of 6?? Would seem a bit of a waste to run that canner for 15 minutes with only two jars.

And another thing, local grocery store which shall remain nameless.....why, oh why, wasn't the pickling mix with the rest of the canning supplies in aisle 1? Or maybe the pickle aisle? Or the spice aisle? Or even the produce department? What mysterious logic says, "Pickle mix. Yeah. That goes with the Jello."

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jamie,
    Floating occurs with wide mouth jars - try narrow ones and part of the problem is solved (turn them over as they are sealed not a problem). Check out the Farm Journal FREEZING and CANNING cookbook ISBN 0-385-00487-7 (vintage but good if you can find a copy) Interloan? Also JOY OF COOKING has a good canning section and of course there is the BALL BLUE BOOK. But the first is a gem. My grandmother made her own brine for the amount of jars she had to fill. Measure the filled jars with water and then make your brine accordingly. That is if you are making dills.
    You did not say. Sweet pickles are another method. I hope they are good, make some dill bean pickles too, they are just as easy but don't forget to add a clove of garlic in each jar.
    Happy Gardening (Canning)
    Dave P