Thursday, September 3, 2009
In a Pickle
I've been craving pickles (and no, I am not expecting) and it's the time of year to make your own. I've been having a little trouble locating Kirby cucumbers, so I decided to stop by Boughton Farm, conveniently located a couple of miles from my house. They hooked me up with a half peck (about 15#) of cukes.
I was also looking for beans to make Dilly Beans. Boughton Farms has pick your own crops - beans, tomatoes, peppers, cabbage, and pumpkins. I collected my basket and off I went. The beans are starting to get a little full, so it took a little while to hunt for the most slender specimens, but it was a nice day and actually kind of relaxing. The easiest part of the day.
No dill at this farm, so I headed to another, off the beaten path, down a dirt road farm stand a few miles away, where two nice grandmother types went into the walk-in and fetched me the hugest stalk of canning dill I've ever seen.
A few spices - turmeric, mustard seed, celery seed, ground ginger, black peppercorns, some coarse salt and pickling salt, plus sugar and vinegar.
The 5+ pounds of beans I picked and the monster dill.
I decided to honor Shelia Lukins, of Silver Palate and Parade Magazine fame, who passed this week, and make her recipe for Bread-and-Butter Pickles and Dilly Beans from her U.S.A. Cookbook.
The pickles called for slicing 4 pounds of cukes, 2 pounds of onions (the mandolin made quick work of those), tossing with some salt, covering with ice cubes and waiting 2 hours. Which theoretically gives you plenty of time to round up the jars and supplies. Of course, I had no pint jars, so I headed to the grocery and picked up a couple of cases.
Washed the jars with hot, soapy water, then sterilized them in boiling water for ten minutes.
More cukes weighed out for today.
The canning kettle. Oh how nice to fire this monster up on a real stove. I think even if i turned on every burner on the electric stove it would take an hour to boil. Made canning so not fun.
Rinsing the salt off a couple of times while the jars sterilize.
Boiling the brine.
The jar lids get heated, not boiled, in hot water. The probe thermometer helps check the temp.
And voila - Bread-and-Butter Pickles. I love the sound of pinging the jars make when you take them out of the water bath and they vacuum seal.
And later, due to another trip to the store for pickling salt, the Dilly Beans. There is a little piece of the Ithaca Farmer's Market in those jars - some giant garlic I bought on my trip awhile back.
And there are a lot more cukes to process today.