Tuesday, June 26, 2012

'Tis the Season for Canning - Pickles

When canning fruit for jam, soft overripe fruit works just fine. However, when looking for cucumbers for making pickles, you want firm fresh cucumbers. The best cucumbers to use are about 2 inches in diameter and are dark green and covered in warts. 

Many places sell "pickling cucumbers" or simply put "pickles". A pickle is a cucumber it's just that the small cucumbers work better for pickling.

Picture from www.AffairsOfLiving.com

When cutting cucumbers for pickling, they can be cut any way you want to eat them. Round slices, cut lengthwise or even whole. For Bread & Butter Pickles, I like round slices. For Dill Pickles, I like some round slices, some cut lengthwise and some left whole.

I also read that putting 2 grape leaves in every jar helps your pickles to be more "crunchier." Hmm... Worth the try.

There are several reasons for pickles not turning out:

1. Discoloration - copper cooking vessel or the wrong kind of vinegar

2. Slimy soft pickles - cucumbers are not thoroughly immersed in brine solution

3. Tough shriveled pickles - too much salt or sugar; too strong vinegar

4. Soft pickles - Too strong a vinegar; too weak a brine solution
     *This is the problem I found to have with my Dill Pickles last year

Picture from www.KimberlyBelle.com

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