Sunday, July 22, 2018

Dill Pickle Day 2018

It's been awhile since we made pickles and we're out of everything.  Dill, sweet, relish, sweet dill.  The pickling cucumbers are producing well and I had a whole refrigerator hydrator full of pickles.  I always enjoy pickle day because I get to use a lot of my enamelware all at once...

First I slice the cucumbers and soak them in a pickling lime solution for a couple of hours.  This is supposed to make them stay crisp.  Then I rinse them well and soak them in ice water for several hours, also supposed to help them stay crisp.  Tim couldn't stay out  of the cucumber slices because they were truly very, very crisp.

Now the thing about making pickles is that you have to have a strategic plan.  There is really no way to heat all the pots you need to AND have the canning bath at a rolling boil and ready to use.  Especially if you are doing more than one canner full so everything has to stay hot for round two.  Maybe if you had a helper whose sole job is to boil stuff.  This is why we put the canning bath on the turkey fryer out in the driveway.  This works out really well.  Tim can keep an eye on it while I stuff jars.

These are all of the pots it requires.
1. Sterilized jars waiting in hot water
2. Sterilized bands waiting in hot water
3. Sterilized lids waiting in hot water
4. Dill pickle solution staying hot
5. Emergency extra sweet pickle solution

So that's 4 required pots of hot water on the stove... plus the canning bath.  
Which goes on the fifth burner?  Not possible.  Especially with its ginormous girth.  Its really hard to get that much water to a rolling boil on a glass top stove.  The pot is bigger than the burner.  Open flame is just the ticket.

So now I have a tray of a dozen pints of dill pickles.

I was very pleased with how well I stuffed the jars this time.

The last time I made dill pickles with this recipe I ended up running short on dill solution.  So this time I made half a batch of bread and butter solution as an emergency backup.  As it turned out I had exactly the right amount of dill for 12 pints (practice makes perfect - and so does good jar stuffing) so while the second batch of jars cooked in the water bath I used the leftover cucumber slices and the emergency sweet pickle solution to make refrigerator pickles.  I wasn't going to prolong the day by sterilizing the jars and running another canning bath.  So I just plopped them in the jar and tucked them away in the fridge.  Easy peasy.

 This is my third ripe tomato of the year.  All of them Barlow Jap.  The first two were pretty gnarly looking because they were from fused blooms, and I do pinch those off later in the season.  But not when they are the first fruit to set!   I could be waiting forever for a perfect round tomato to set.

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