Monday, 26 May 2014

Michelle makes pickles

I tried making pickles last fall. I followed the recipe in the Ball book for brined dill pickles. I left them brining in the basement for a few weeks and when I pulled them out, the girls and Greg loved them. Then I canned them. It completely changed the flavor and texture of the pickles. We were all sad. The girls (and Greg) both love pickles, so I had to try again. Today I made 3 kinds of pickles (brined dill, kosher dill and bread and butter), but only one jar each. I tried the brined dill pickles again, but rather than the 10 pounds of cucumbers the recipe called for, I tried it with about 1 pound. I tried dividing out the recipe to add a tenth of each item. I used 2X about 3/4 tablespoon of the Ball Mixed Pickling Spice (one for the top and one for the bottom). I added 6 cloves of garlic, which is what the original recipe called for. What? We love garlic. The jar only held about a cup and a quarter of liquid after adding the cucumbers, so I mixed a cup of water with a hearty splash of vinegar and 2.5 tablespoons of salt. I also used some wilted dill. I bought it last weekend to make pickles, but didn't get around to making them for a couple days (seriously, only 2 days) and my cucumbers went off. The dill wilted, but otherwise looked OK, so I used it anyway.
The other two batches were even easier. They were still roughly a pound of cucumbers, but I had bought pouches of spices to add. They called for 3.5 pounds of cucumbers, so I just used half of it and halved the water and vinegar. The pouches say to heat the water, vinegar and pouch (plus sugar for the bread and butter) to boiling then pour over the cucumbers in a bowl and let cool then put in the jars. You can refrigerate them at this point or process them for sealed jars.
These are two of the batches cooling, the Kosher dill on the left and the bread and butter on the right.
Left to right, brining, bread and butter and kosher dill. The goal was to get pickles we can eat soon, so I just put them in jars to put in the fridge. We like the more crisp pickles, so less processing is good. If they turn out OK, I can make some every few weeks and have a more continuous supply. Now I just need to fight the urge to try them for at least a couple weeks.


  1. Replies
    1. We tasted some this weekend and they're OK. They've only been sitting a week. I'm not sure that they'll be my favorite, but they were easy enough to put together and we want to have pickles around. They are nice and crisp, which is good. They haven't passed the final test yet. If the girls will eat them, I'll continue to make them in relatively small batches. I know they like the brined pickles (on the left) which are still sitting in my basement. What I'll probably have to do is start a jar or two every couple weeks to give us a constant supply. I just thought I'd try the fridge ones to see if we like them better. I want to avoid having to can and change the texture and flavor that way, which is what happened to my last brined pickles. They all loved them after brining but wouldn't eat them after they were canned. there were too many to just stick in the fridge.