How I Make Pickles – Part 2
Continued from here.
At this point all your jars, dill and cukes should be ready to go. It’s time to start boiling the brine you made earlier. You will also need peppercorns, dried chili peppers or flakes (not chili powder) and garlic. I prefer cloves because my family likes to eat pickled garlic but diced from a jar works too.
You also need to add:
add about three peppercorns.
Here is where you can get creative. If you are confident that you have the right number of jars, go a head and add that mix of spices to each jar so you are ready to go. I’m not that confident, I fill one jar at a time as my cukes get trimmed.
Trim your cukes
Trim both ends off the cukes. The stem just gets tough when pickled. The blossom end is usually fine, but make sure there isn’t any blossom left as it will get slimy.
There is a lot for you to notice in this picture. The jar isn’t full to the top. This is because when you add the brine, you need to leave 1/2 inch of head space or the rings part of the jar empty so that it will seal properly. You need to leave space between the top of the cukes and the top of where the brine will be so that they are completely covered. If your cukes are weird shapes, you can cut them into spears and they will still be fine.
My mom told me to stuff my jars so full I couldn’t get any more in. She also said not to slice your cukes. This is true, if you are following both rules. You need a little bit of space so that the brine can circulate. You also need to make sure that you have enough space that there is enough brine to preserve the cukes. If your jar is really full and you can only get a little brine in, that won’t be enough to actually pickle. You can use cucumber spears if you also don’t over stuff and leave some space for extra brine. Spears or vertical slices work best for this reason.
Repeat until all your jars are full of cukes. Turn the canner back on to boil.
Fill all jars with brine, leaving the previously mentioned 1/2 inch of head space
(Place the lids on the jars)
Once all your jars are ready to go, put them carefully back into the canner full of boiling water. I have no pictures of this because I use the big jar rack and it takes two hands to use.
Here are all the jars in the canner. The relative coolness of the jars will stop the boiling. Wait for the whole thing to return to a rolling boil and then start the timer for the processing time for your elevation.
Remove your jars when they are done processing and wait to make sure they have all sealed.
It takes a few weeks for the brine to really infuse the pickles and for them to be ready to eat. This recipe works with cucumbers, carrots, beans or garlic or whatever mix of those veg you feel like making.
This is just how I make pickles, there are way better tutorials out there on the internet. Go explore. Have fun. Be safe.