Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Making Pickles

My nephew, Desi, didn't have summer camp or any other plans for this last week of vacation, so his negligent parents left him with me. I had a giant sack of cucumbers that needed pickling.

Desi and I spent the afternoon cleaning and chopping and boiling and packing and all the things that are required to make the sour treats. Here's Desi having at a head of dill.

Many hours later here's the product.

They all appear to have sealed properly, which I was psyched about because it was my first canning experience. The one thing I'm wary of is that there were some air bubbles in there after I processed them. I might not have done a good enough job getting them out before sealing them. Also, I'm not positive about how good they'll taste. These ones are supposedly ready to eat in 24 hours, so I'll find out this evening. At least if they're not good or they harbor some kind of bacteria, I have a seven year old scapegoat.

Update: I went ahead and cracked open one of the jars. The good news is that the seal was good and the pickles tasted great (dilly and spicy and just a little salty). The bad news it that they are soggy, soggy, soggy. Maybe I'll make them into some kind of relish? (But who eats that much relish?)

In the meantime, after a little research on the world wide webs I think I've found one of my problems and one good piece of advice. Next time I'm going to soak the cukes in water in the fridge overnight before I can them. Also, I might have overprocessed them this time (perhaps a typical novice fear of botulism mistake alongside not being absolutely sure that I started the timing at the right point). Next time I'll be more careful with the processing time. If anyone out there has some good tips or knows of anyone in desperate need of some relish, contact me here...

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