Sunday night I finished canning a batch of pickles while watching the Olympics.
The process started on Saturday with the cukes ready to be picked in the garden:
In the process of picking, my fingers get pricked. The cukes are covered with bumps that have a sharp point that pricks like a bee sting with the stinger left in your skin. The older the cuke the smoother it is, but the older ones are less suitable for pickling.
I also picked seed heads of dill from the garden.
One of the ways to make pickles is to ferment them. I bought a one-gallon stoneware crock, added some salt, vinegar and water to the cukes and spices. It’s amazingly simple but you have to wait about a month until they’re ready.
I covered the crock with plate and I let it sit for about four weeks in a cool place. I did this on Saturday and by Sunday night there was foam on the surface. I’ll have to remember to skim off any scum that forms.
I created another batch of pickles using a different recipe than before.
Quick pickling recipes combine brining with the flavored vinegar solution. This variation calls for brining as a separate step. So on Sunday, I brined the cukes for twelve hours, letting them sit in two gallons of water with a half-cup of salt. I did that in the morning, went to the Cal State Fair in Sacramento, and about 13 hours later, I made a vinegar-spice solution and canned these pickles while keeping track of the track-and-field events in the background. I canned three quart jars and three pint jars. I also fresh-packed two quart jars and one pint jar — they go in the refigerator. They get the same hot vinegar solution but instead of a boiling water process to seal the jars, they are refrigerated. We’ll see how they taste in a few weeks.