Anotheryarn Eats

October 3, 2008

Success? Pickles

Filed under: thoughts — Tags: , — anotheryarn @ 10:44 am

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.

  1. why is the vinegar-water-salt ratio all over the place in dill cucumber pickle recipes?
  2. why do some recipes call for a 12+ hour soak in water (or water and salt) and what does it do?
  3. how long should I wait before opening the first jar of pickles?


  1. Let’s see. Alum, I know, can also be used to treat canker sores. I remember my grandfather packing one of mine with it. The only problem was that you weren’t supposed to swallow it, so I had to drool everything out on a tissue for hours. Yum. So the connection with pickling? I have no idea.

    I think the basic idea of the water soak is just like your lettuce soak. To hydrate the cucumbers to their fullest potential. Of course, if you soaked the cucumbers in salt water, wouldn’t that also start the seasoning process? Like a brine?

    If you haven’t already done so, I’d wait at least a month before opening the pickles. This is, of course, if you actually CANNED them. If you didn’t…maybe give them a week. Just don’t forget to say how they taste!

    Comment by fractone — October 10, 2008 @ 6:08 pm

  2. 1 month, hah. I could barely get TheHusband to wait a full week before opening the first jar. In fact the first jar of pickles was finished yesterday (Sunday). So one jar lasted a week. I did not process them in a hot water bath, so no, no actual canning. What makes all this even funnier is the fact that I just came across a pickle recipe for exactly the amount of cucumbers I had on hand.

    So don’t swallow alum but it is okay to put it in pickles? Weird.

    Comment by anotheryarn — October 13, 2008 @ 10:45 pm

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