Saturday, October 18, 2014


Thank you, Marisa McClellan, for your obsession with things in jars.  Small batch canning is really the way to go for would be canners on the go.  This recipe is from her Food In Jars, a book I highly recommend to anyone wanting to dabble in putting up.

My local farmer's market had a "last chance" batch of pickling cucumbers, so I couldn't resist the opportunity to make up some pickles or relish or whatever struck me once I got home.  I missed the sweet tang of a bread and butter pickle so I sliced and salted and stuck a bowl (with lid, not pictured) in the refrigerator to wait.

6 cups of pickling cucumbers, 2 cups sliced red peppers, 2 cups sliced onions, 1/4 cup pickling salt
The following afternoon, I rinsed and drained my vegetables and let them sit while I boiled up 2 cups of apple cider vinegar and 1 1/2 cups of sugar.  When the sugar was dissolved, I added my seasonings:  2 tbsp of mustard seed, 2 tsp of celery seed, 1 tsp of red pepper flakes, and 1/2 tsp of ground cloves.  Once the mixture boiled, I dumped in the vegetables, using the 5 minute cook time to set up my sterilized jars and other canning equipment.  Stir occasionally, then remove from heat to fill your jars.

Look how far above the brine this is.  Give it a minute!
And this is 5 minutes later.
At this point, you use your tongs to fill your clean, hot jars with the cucumber mixture.  Carefully fill the jars with the brine, leaving a 1/2 inch headspace.

Marisa's recipe says 5 pints but I don't end up with more than 3 and a snack bowl

Tap your jars on a towel covered counter (you do NOT want hot, sticky pickle juice and broken glass all over!) or use a de-bubbling tool to remove all the air pockets.  Check that headspace and adjust the brine levels accordingly.  Wipe your rims, place your lids and rings on to finger tight, and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

I remove the lid and let it sit, burner off, for 5 minutes just as a matter of habit after a bad, bad experience with canning tomatoes.  Take your jars out of the canner and let them cool on the counter.

Try really hard to not get into them for 48 hours.  I know, it's difficult, but it will be worth the wait!

For a more detailed, official write up, I refer you to Food in Jars:  Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round by Marisa McClellan

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