red flannel pantry

creative pursuits in the kitchen, garden, library and sewing room

putting up pickles

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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.

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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.

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5 thoughts on “putting up pickles

  1. NomadNurpu on said:

    Thanks for sharing. This will be my first year canning and this looks like a good recipe to try.

  2. My husband LOVES pickles! This year we are growing cucumbers, but got started a little later such that they are not yet ready to harvest. We have never tried pickling pickles, so will try out your husband’s recipe. Yours look good!

  3. Sounds like our house, haha. We, too, are on that quest to find the PERFECT pickle recipe. I’m interested to hear if that pickle crisp made any difference – I saw it in the store yesterday and contemplating buying it. I held off for now.

    • Hi Megan–the unfortunate thing about pickling is that you have to wait awhile to know if you’ve met with success. We are just now gifting and opening last year’s pickles in which we added a wild grape leaf to the jars, and we do think they are crispier! I will post re the crispiness factor and Pickle Crisp once we crack open this year’s jars. Good luck with your quest and be sure to share your findings!

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