Get it? Popping my canning cherry. Like that sweet popping sound you want to hear when you can. It’s a sweet sound I tell you, especially when there is a symphony of popping lids. It means victory.
Everything is growing like mad around here. While my tomato plants aren’t as tall or as big as I would like them to be, there are plenty of fruits, big and small, ripening on their vines. I have about six little eggplants growing and dozens of peppers, hot and sweet. The ground cherries and gooseberries are impressive, taking over the little berry patch so much that my raspberry and blueberry plants have disappeared. I have plenty of canning recipes I plan to try with my crop as I am expecting a bumper one (PS tried ground cherries for the first time tonight and oh my are they are sweet and tasty). My homemade pickle cucumbers are also faring well, though not producing enough at one time to make pickles so I had to cheat.
I had seven homegrown cucumbers on the counter just dying to be made into pickles. I couldn’t wait.
After a trip to the Grimsby Farmers’ Market I had enough cucumbers to make a small batch of pickles. Too bad I forgot to plant dill, I had to buy that too.
It looks like my pickling adventure was a success (and my subsequent spicy dilly bean adventure as well as adventures in jam, all of which I will blog about soon). I do have one concern though, and only time will tell. Apparently in all my researching about canning, I failed to take in one major advisory: use a non-reactive pot.
What does that mean? Pots made of aluminum, cast iron or treated with a non-stick coating can leach a metallic taste into the final product. Non-reactive pans include those made of stainless steal or enamel-coated cast iron.
I used non-stick pans, though mine are not teflon treated, they have a petroleum-free, ceramic-based coating. Anyone have any idea if that makes a difference?
At least there are only four jars of possibly metallic pickles (and four more small ones beans). The jams are safe we used a stainless pot.
Here is the recipe I tried, though I cannot vouch for taste yet.
Blue Ribbon Dill Pickles
- 1 basket of pickling cucumbers
- Bunch of dill
- Head of garlic
- 8 1/2 C water
- 2 1/4 C pickling vinegar
- 1/2 C pickling salt
- Stainless steel pot, large and small size
- Canning pot
- 4 pickle-sized canning with rings and lids (make sure to get new lids as the seal is only good for one use)
- Canning tongs *
- Canning funnel *
- Canning magnet *
- Canning measuring stick *
(*all come together in a kit from Bernadin available at most retailers)
Wash jars either by hand in hot, soapy water or on sterilizer mode in your dishwasher. Rinse and fill with water, set aside.
Fill canner with hot water and set on burner over high heat.
In smaller pot, cover rings and lids with water and bring to simmer.
In large, stainless pot, bring water, vinegar and salt to a boil. Turn off heat and set aside.
Stuff jars. First layer the garlic (I did two in each) and dill at the bottom (I added some mustard seeds, brown and yellow) then stuff in the cucs. Cram them in there up to the neck. Make sure they are stuffed in there tight or you will have a big empty gap in your finished jar (like with my beans). Top it off with some more dill and another clove of garlic.
Next, get out your trusty little canning funnel and pour in that hot, vinegar-water-salt mix. Careful, it’s hot. Fill jars, leaving a half-inch gap at the top (use your trusty little measuring stick to do that). Wipe off jar rim with warm, damp towel.
Now it’s time to use that little magnet tool. Grab a lid and ring from the simmering pot and place it on top of the jar. Screw down rim, do not tighten to much, but make sure rim is even.
Once jars are filled, use those trusty canning tongs to lower the jar into the canning pot. Bring water almost to a boil, about 15 minutes.
Remove jars from pot with tongs and place on dish towel. Put another towel on top.
Listen for the pop.
If it doesn’t pop, don’t sweat it at first. It can take 12-24 hours for the lid to pop. Mine happened after I went to bed a little depressed that my pickles didn’t pop. It was like Christmas morning when I went downstairs and discovered that over night those lids had sealed. Victory.
And then I learned about the non-reactive pot thing. Less victory.
Another small note. My garlic turned green. No blue. Like blue cheese. I read that this is perfectly normal and has something to do with a reaction between the garlic and water (or maybe my reactive pot?). For the beans, I chopped the garlic and did not have this problem. No more whole garlic in my canning recipes. Unless someone has a suggestion?