My Pickle Day

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I grew up on a small farm from about the age of 7 to 18. We had a beautiful garden, fruit trees, and a small collection of animals. My parents taught my sister, brother, and I many valuable tasks. However, one of the few things I didn’t learn was canning. How I missed, this I’m not sure, but I think it may have had something to do with the Super Nintendo that entered the family around age 13. Isn’t Donkey Kong the best?

Canning, right! Let’s get back to the subject, shall we?

Spicy pickles! That’s what I chose for my first canning extravaganza—a family recipe from my dear friend Heidi. The following recipe yields 10-12 jars.

What you’ll need
My dear friend Heidi  (or a sidekick of your choosing)
12 1-Quart Canning Jars
5–6 Pickling Cucumbers Per Jar
1–2 Garlic Heads
1 Fresh Dill Plant
1–3 Tsp Cayenne Per Jar
1–3 Serrano Peppers Per Jar (optional)
Large Canning Pot with Jar Dividers
Canning Tongs

Pickling Solution
10 Cups White Vinegar
10 Cups Water
1 Cup Canning Salt

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Tip
I was told to put my glass jars through the hot and light loud option of my dishwasher, lids off. This way your jars are hot when you pack them and transfer them to the hot water. It’s less likely the glass will burst.

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Instructions
Clean the cucumbers. Prepare the canning liquid and heat to a low simmer, not boiling. Heat your large pot of water (with dividers) to boiling. Pack your hot canning jars with one head of dill, 1–3 garlic cloves, 1–3 tsp cayenne, 5-6– cucumbers and a couple hot peppers.

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Next, carefully fill each jar with the steaming hot vinegar mixture to just about 1/4″ from the top of the jar. Screw each lid on just tight enough, but not too tight! Carefully drop these beauties into the boiling water between your jar dividers and cover with the lid for exactly 8–10 minutes. Pull out each jar using your handy dandy canning tongs when the time is up!

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Lastly, place your jars in a clean, cool, dark, dry place and wait ever so patiently until it’s time to pop the lid and give them a taste. I think 3 weeks is the minimum to wait. My husband would tell you two weeks…. But his patience level for spicy pickles is slim to none!

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Canning is much easier and faster than I thought it would be. There will definitely be more canning in my future. Hopefully with my mom! I so appreciate all her beautifully stacked glass jars I remember seeing in our cellar so much more now.

October 15, 2014 by Rachel Bishop
Tags: Portland
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