putting up pickles
We had an unseasonably cool weekend and a garage frig full of cucumbers, so the timing was right for a pickling session.
We’ve been pickling for 5 or 6 years now. Pickling is really my husband’s project. I serve as supply procurer, cucumber picker, dill harvester, jar labeler, and kitchen company. I am also the chief gift-giver of pickles–I give jars away to anyone and everyone. If people return the jars and ask for more, then I know it’s ok to repeat!
He keeps extensive notes year to year: how many pounds of cucumbers, how many jars, the dates of the pickling sessions. This weekend he put up 30 jars of pickles using 40 lb, 5.1 oz of cucumbers (see, I wasn’t kidding about his obsessive record-keeping). Last year he canned 161 jars. Given how the vines are producing, I think we’ll hit or exceed that mark this year.
His quest is to make the crunchiest pickle possible. This year he decided to try adding Pickle Crisp–the name of the product does give hope. Pickle Crisp is simply calcium chloride, or lime. We found it at the hardware store in the canning supplies.
He likes pickles that are garlicky, dilly, and spicy, so he plays around with various flavor combinations of red pepper flakes, peppercorns, and horseradish.
Because he works from shorthand notes, I thought I’d put the recipe he has refined over the years to paper–you can find it here.