Before last week, I had never ever canned. I remember my Grandmother canning some. My philosophy has always been why can whe you can freeze. I thought canning was way too hard and time consuming.
Then came the great cucumber harvest of 2011. We have more cucumbers then we know what to do with. We have eaten them in everything I can possibly think of to put cucumbers in, given them away and we still have a refrigerator full and more on the vine!
I decided it was time to learn to make pickles.
My friend, Michelle, sent me coupons for the Ball Canning Discovery Kit and Ball Canning Jars. The kit comes with a green canning rack, 3 pint jars and a step-by-step beginner’s guide for canning. I bought a package of Ball kosher dill pickle mix on clearance. I used that instead of the recipe for pickles in the step-by-step guide.
You will also need a very large stockpot. It needs to be at least 7 1/2 inches tall and 9 1/2 inches in diameter. Mine is right at the minimum size and I think a larger stockpot would make the process easier.
Even though the entire process was explained I was still a little nervous. There are several steps and you want to make sure you follow them exactly so your food is preserved properly. I recommend reading through it a few times before you begin. Also, make sure you cut your cucumbers to the correct length so they will fit in your jars so you don’t have to re-cut them later because they are too long. Learn from my mistakes!
The most time consuming thing was preparing the cucumbers.
I had enough ingredients to make nine jars. The finished product is delicious! It was much easier than I expected and I plan on making more pickles.
If you want to include your kids in the pickle making process, I recommend The Magic School Bus In a Pickle: A Book About Microbes. It explains how pickling works as only Ms. Fizzle can!