Last week I picked up a fun little book at the library–Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It by Karen Solomon is a great stash of ‘kitchen projects’–including pickles, bacon, and marshmallows, oh my. The photos are enticing and the instructions, while they could sometimes be a little fuller, are preceded by interesting anecdotes. But today I tried the pickle recipe, and frankly, I’m not sure it went well. And I don’t think it’s the book’s fault–I suspect it’s me.
I should tell you that this isn’t the first time I’ve tried to make pickles, and that last time, it did not go well, either. Mr. Pea and I made pickles several years ago and the process left us mostly with burns and rather un-tasty specimens. As such, my hopes weren’t especially high for these pickles, even though my canning experience has increased.
The pickle recipe from Jam It includes a lot of herbs. A lot. They fill up about 1/2-1″ of the pint jar, which made it then really hard for me to get my pickle spears and slices in comfortably. According to the recipe, 3 pounds of veggies=3 pints of pickles. But I had lots and lots of cucumbers left–I think I only used 1 1/2 to two pounds and ultimately ended up with 4 jars. At any rate, the spears didn’t fit well, and then when I poured a vinegar, salt and water solution over them, they still poked out the top. I’m not sure what impact this will have on the shelf life of the pickles. But I pressed on and processed them–I think a minute or two too long–and so I might have also doomed my pickles to squishiness. Plus, the rim of one jar was not tight enough, and it actually *lost* brine in the processing. What gives?
Oh well. I did have enough pickles and spices to assemble a jar of fridge pickles. The whole project cost about $2.50 and a few–maybe 4?–little garden pickles. And maybe if I toss the processed jars in the fridge, they will turn out ok.