Sunday, September 5, 2010

Pickled again - Garlic Jalapeño Pickles

I got a batch of garden pickles from some friends.  Making and canning your own pickles is one of the easiest things you can do with produce!   My husband loves them and it’s a healthy addition to pack in his lunch every day.
Wash and cut your vegetables.  It takes about 3 or 4 cucumbers to fill a pint jar. Each cucumber is about 4 – 5 inches long and you will cut off the ends so they will fit with 1/4 inch to spare.

You will need to cut the ends off (about 1/4 inch) and then slice them lengthwise if you like spears. You can also leave them whole or cut them cross-wise.
Wash the jars and lids with hot, soapy water.  Rinse well.  Sterilize the jars and lids in boiling water. Let them simmer until you're ready to use them.
 Pack the jars with the cucumbers – I top that with a clove of garlic and a few halves of jalapeño.  Then I add ½ tbsp pickling spice, a sprinkle of pepper and a few dashes hot sauce.
You can make your own pickling mix from spices, salt, dill, etc.; but it is MUCH more time-consuming, complicated, and prone to problems.  I use Mrs. Wages pickling spice. 

Bring the water and vinegar to a near-boil – just simmering! I use 3 cups of distilled white vinegar to 5 cups water.

Be sure to use a NON-metal pot - or a coated metal (teflon, silverstone, enamel, etc.) without breaks in the coating. The metal reacts with the vinegar and makes the pickle solution turn cloudy.

Pour the simmering brine over the pickles.  Fill them to within 1/4 inch of the top, seat the lid and hand tighten the ring around them.
 Put them in the canner and keep them covered with at least 1 inch of water. Keep the water boiling. Boil them for 12 minutes .  

Lift the jars out of the water and let them cool without touching or bumping them in a draft-free place (usually takes overnight) You can then remove the rings if you like.

When can you start eating the pickles? Well, it takes some time for the seasonings to be absorbed into the pickles. That's at least 24 hours, but for the best flavor wait a week!  Can you stand it?

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