I’ve never gone out of my way to eat pickles. I admit they make a nice addition to a sandwich, which in my life has really been the only setting where pickles and I have been acquainted.
But now, I have a garden . . . six steps out my backdoor (there is a slight turn and a hop over a fence involved, as well, but you get the picture). And, well, anyone who has grown anything in the cucurbit family knows that if you don’t harvest often, you can wind up with a zucchini three times the size of your forearm, or a pickling cucumber that may as well be a prickly armrest (I don’t know what this means but it sounds itchy).
My husband and partner-in-homesteading, Jon, and I thought we’d only planted one pickling cucumber plant, and still after having composted the plant’s(‘) remains, the mystery of exactly how many plants we really had is still up in the air. You know how all those squash wrap around each other in one big squash slumber party.
Now, with all these baby cucumbers being born into our world everyday, it’s essential that I, as an urban homesteader, do something with them. I cannot let them go homeless or unacknowledged.
So, we’ve been pickling quite a bit, experimenting and playing it safe all at once.
Here’s one of the recipes we used, and a few photos of our adventure.
Start with fresh cucumbers, within 24 hours of harvesting, or as soon as possible after purchasing.
Canning jars (sanitized)
We started with about 5 1/2 pounds of pickling cucumbers, sliced them in quarters, and gave them a rinse.
And we filled up a few jars with the lovely cukes.
We added about 2 sprigs of fresh dill to each of the jars.
And added a little less than 1 tablespoon of mustard seed to each jar as well.
After adding the dill and mustard seed to each jar, we were then ready to add the solution of 5 1/3 cups of water, 1/3 cup of salt, 4 cups of vinegar, and 1/6 cup of sugar we had boiled while we were doing the above steps. We filled each jar, leaving 1/2 inch from the top (called “head space” in canning world).
After screwing the lids on tight, we were ready to process the soon-to-be pickles by placing them in a boiling water bath (aka a pot filled with boiling water) for 15 minutes, making sure the water went 1 inch over the tops of the jars.
After the 15 minutes has passed, carefully remove your jars from the water. Allow to cool on a towel or other surface.
Store in a cool, dark place for 4-5 weeks. Then, feel free to enjoy these lovelies!
There are many other ways to make pickles, and this is just one of them that works for us. I invite you to explore the many other methods by doing some research on your own, or using resources like The Homesteading Handbook, which I find very helpful in my homesteading efforts. I hope you enjoy your delicious, repurposed cucumbers!