Sunday, August 1, 2010

When life gives you cucumbers...

Last weekend I took on the little adventure of canning, which was very appropriate because it happened to be National Canning Week! I stumbled onto this website and tried to do as much research as possible…I read blogs, found forums, and watched tutorials. If it's not obvious by now, I was VERY nervous about this uncharted-cooking territory.

Canning…How nerve racking! How does it even work?! Where do I get all the supplies?! Is it even going to be worth it?! These were all the fear-based questions I had as I got out my ‘Canning Kit’ and cracked open my instruction booklet. Luckily, the recipe I used was for small amounts, it was simple, and made me feed confident in my canning potential.

I decided to make pickles as my first experiment, mainly because I had accidentally bought cucumbers instead of zucchini at the farmers market and I HATE cucumbers… When life gives you cucumbers, make pickles!

I started by slicing 6 cups of cucumbers and 2 onions, with some pickling salt poured to the specific amount of 1/3 cups.

Mixed all together then drowned in some water. I let this sit for 2 hours.

The recipe called for a glass bowl and I was nervous to steer from the instructions; my trifle dish was the biggest bowl I could find.

After these steps I was too preoccupied (and nervous) to pick up a camera to document my progress. Quick Recap: I heated vinegar, sugar, and other spices to the perfect temperature, then mixed in the cucumbers and waited anxiously until the concoction was done. Then I placed the mixture in the cans exactly ½ inch from the rim then dunked the jars in the boiling water for the allotted time to finish the preserving process.

It might not sound too bad but this (from the manual) kept me on my toes: "This is not the time to experiment. Even a slight change can throw off the balance of a recipe, turning bliss into blah." -Scary!

Finished project: 3 beautiful cans of pickles cooling to room temperature.

Now, today I am testing the fruits of my labor.

The verdict?


They were super good! Better than store-bought pickels...and incredibly fresh! This got me excited about my next attempt. Maybe this coming weekend has Blueberry Syrup in the forecast? Lets hope the Farmer's Market has some goodies!  

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