Ugh. After too much agonizing I did it. I ended up calling my mom a second time (what is alum? her answer: a chemical that helps keep pickles crispy). I pulled out two quart jars and two new flat lids + rings, placed a clean towel in the clean sink and put a big pot of water on to boil for scalding/sterilizing the jars. Then I picked my brine solution (1/4 of MIL’s recipe minus alum plus the darn pickling spice I blended together), I grabbed my cucumbers (sitting out at room temp per MIL’s suggestion) and single anaheim pepper and washed them, grabbed the garlic and dill and started the process. It didn’t even take very long from start to finish (but I forgot to time it so “not very long” might have been 25 minutes or 75 minutes, I have such a faulty internal clock). I even managed to judge the correct amount of brine and cucumbers as both filled the two quart jars perfectly; cutting and filling jars at the same time also helped, since I had grabbed two extra cucumbers at the last minute and it turns out I didn’t need them.
Frankly I’m not giving you the recipe. This not-really-canning stuff is scary I don’t want to be responsible if they make someone (other than the two of us) sick.
However I will share a few links I found.
How do I? …Pickle from the National Center for Home Food Preservation
My various pickle finds from the googling process.
Now I am left with three questions.
- why is the vinegar-water-salt ratio all over the place in dill cucumber pickle recipes?
- why do some recipes call for a 12+ hour soak in water (or water and salt) and what does it do?
- how long should I wait before opening the first jar of pickles?