Thursday, September 28, 2023

We Got Ourselves Into Quite the Pickle

When I planted the garden this spring, I never thought that the cucumber harvest would be quite as plentiful as it has turned out to be. This has been a great thing, according to Hugh, who has enjoyed his favorite creamy cucumber salad on multiple occasions this year. I've mentioned it before, but it bears repeating; I do not like raw cucumbers. I do, however, like a cucumber once it has been wrestled into submission in a good pickling brine, hence my decision to turn my bumper crop into pickles this past Sunday.

Since I had so many cucumbers, I decided to make a few different varieties of pickle, including a homemade dill variety that required a hunt for fresh dill that took Mom, Kristi, and I to the local produce stand, the Hooterville farmer's market, and the Mennonite store, just to purchases enough of the herb for my purposes.

I also had to purchase a new canner, since the one that I swear I once owned has gone missing. Now, Hugh and I are divided on whether or not I ever actually possessed such a utensil, but I am relatively confident that I had one back when we lived in Mount Pilot. I could be wrong, but don't tell Hugh.

Kristi had never canned before, but she jumped into the chore with enthusiasm. She scrubbed the cucumbers while I prepped the jars, and she wore an apron while she did it.

Naturally, I snapped a picture of her in it to send to Erin, who was following along on our pickling adventure virtually.

Our first couple of batches were the homemade dill and it went well. So well, I think we got a little cocky in our abilities.

The next batch we made used a packaged pickling brine that was labeled "spicy". Hugh loves a good spicy pickle, so it sounded like a great idea. And, it was, right up until the moment Kristi and I gassed ourselves on the fumes that filled the kitchen from the boiling brine.

Folks? It was like a can of bear spray had been sprayed directly into our lungs. I feared we might die, but we did, in fact, survive to tell the tale. Those pickles better be fucking amazing, because my lungs are permanently damaged.

Anyhoodle, we added a batch of bread and butter pickles, which were a staple in my Grandma Molly's pantry; this brought the total number of quart jars to 18. I hope the people in my life enjoy pickles; I hear they make great stocking stuffers.

Oh, and speaking of butter (we weren't, actually); while on the hunt for the fresh dill, I purchased a glass butter churn jar from the Mennonite store. Did I need a glass butter churn jar? No, no I did not. Do I regret the purchase? Also, no.

I made my first batch right after we cleaned up the mess from Picklepalooza and I served it with hot baguette for dinner. It was the best damn butter I have ever eaten. I'll never buy butter, again (ok, I'll totally buy butter again; it just won't taste as good).

All in all, it was a very successful day, from a Homesteading standpoint.

Yes, I know; actual homesteaders just rolled their eyes at me. But! Every homesteader had to start, somewhere!

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