It wasn't a great year for cucumbers on the farm, so I hoped maybe I wouldn't have to make any pickles. Silly me. With only two quarts of pickles left in the cupboard from last year, I knew I'd have to do something. Weldon can't live without his sweet pickles. Maybe Mom Edith still has some in her basement from previous years.
My younger daughter had been with us on the farm since late January, making a huge move from New York to France. We were busy. We had stuff to do. Pickles weren't on the to-do list. But, Mom and Pat to the rescue. (And I didn't even know I needed rescuing!) They started two gallon jars for me and passed them into my care on July 17. Truly, I was thankful. They're so thoughtful. And kind. And helpful.
These pickles don't happen overnight. First the cucumbers are picked and washed, then packed into gallon jars and covered with boiling water. Days 2 through 5 you drain off the water and then cover the cucumbers with fresh boiling water again. On Day 6 you pour off the water and this time add alum to the fresh boiled water. On Day 7 you drain the water from the jars and this time cover the cucumbers with vinegar and add a little bag of pickling spices. Now the jars sit for nine days and you don't have to do anything with them. Yay!
Today was Day 16. Pickle-making day. I took pictures. Because a blog is no fun without pictures. Some of you may have quit reading already. Such boring stuff. But, hang on. Pictures are here!
|My first year (2006) I did SIX gallons. Impressive.|
|Today, Day 16. All cucumbers sliced thinly and covered in sugar. Lots of sugar.|
|The bowls of sugared "pickles" are covered and left to sit until the sugar dissolves.|
|When the sugar has dissolved (sometimes with the help of a little stirring) the pickles are packed into jars.|
|The jars are lowered into the hot water bath canner.|
|After 20 minutes, the jars are removed from the canner.|
|Tah Dah! 6 quarts of sweet pickles for the sweet farmer.|