July 26, 2016
It’s that time of year.
Produce is flowing in (well, not really from my garden, but everyone who didn’t break their ankle and screw their garden for the year), and it’s time to fill up the canning shelves and the freezers for the winter.
So, that’s what I’ve been doing, little bits at a time, so’s not to put too much stress on the recovering leg. I’ve put up enough peas, I think, for the winter, just a few packages of peas at a time (not that peas are much work to put up). I’ve done eight pints of corn, and have corn to work up tomorrow that’ll be about that much more, which will be about all the corn I have room for. I’ve put up three half-pints of tomato sauce from the back yard garden, which is at least still yielding me lots of Romas, grape and cherry tomatoes.
And today, I made pickles.
This is momentous, at least if they gain approval from Children A and C. You see, my mother made quarts and quarts of pickles every year, most of them a sour dill pickle with a jalapeno and garlic clove in each jar, because my father LOVED them. Would eat the damn things for breakfast. And my kids are the same way.
A few weeks ago, I went looking for my mothers’s box of handwritten recipe cards, which is in this house SOMEWHERE, I swear, in the hopes the pickle recipe would be in it. But I have yet to find it, and I had accumulated cucumbers, so it behooved me to try my best to reconstruct it.
I do know it was a vinegar, hot/quick process, not a salt-fermented process like kosher dills. I know a clove of garlic, a jalapeno, and a dill floret went into each jar. I know it had a significant pucker factor. Those babies were SOUR.
So I looked at pickle recipes and pondered. I settled on a brine of half vinegar and half water, because these pickles are about as sour as they are salty. I added a cup of kosher salt to a gallon of brine. I packed my pickles, garlic and jalapeno in quart jars, boiled the brine, and poured over them. Then I processed them in the canner for about 25 minutes.
Other than the fact I didn’t have any fresh dill, and forgot to put in the dill seed I had, they ought to be pretty good. We’ll see in about a week.
Then I put a bunch of pickle chunks to soak overnight in lime water, with the goal of making Old South Lime Pickles tomorrow. (Recipe here.) Then sometime next week, I’m going to try some horseradish sweet pickles with an eye toward imitating the Boars Head ones that are so dang good.
We will be well and truly pickled, yes, we will.
Next week, if we are lucky, we will be tomato-ing. I found a new vendor at the farmers market who had canning tomatoes for eight bucks a box, which is a fine, fine price. I didn’t get any, only because I was planning to be gone to Little Rock Monday and then up to both ears Tuesday and Wednesday, and then leaving town Friday, and tomatoes Would Not Fit In to that schedule. Fellow said he’d be back Saturday if he did well this past week, and I’m hoping he sold out. I won’t can as many tomatoes as I did last year, because I have a few left, and two boxes, with what I grow, ought to do me.
I was going to go get figs this week and make fig jam, but that fell victim to the schedule as well. No fig jam this year, I don’t guess.
I would not be averse to some help if you and y’mama ‘n ’em wanted to come over and pitch in. Corn and pickles tomorrow.