Monday, July 28, 2014

Why is the water in my pot green? AKA I finally know what that canning thing is!

This post was supposed to be titled "One Saturday, Three Pickle Recipes" but alas I have achieved pickle failure!  Until recently, I was not the proud owner of a designated water bath canner.  I just had always kind of winged it.  Winging it had served me well so why not?! I generally used my pasta pot to warm up my jars and process them once filled and everything had turned out great.

Although I am now the owner of my very own water bath canner (two in fact), I was really only making two pint jars of bread and butter pickles so why should I go to the trouble of heating up the water in that GIANT pot?  I brought out my trusty pasta pot and began heating my jars.  While boiling the pickling liquid, I stuffed the warmed jars with my sliced pickles.  I then poured the pickling brine over them, placed on the lids, and popped them in the boiling pasta pot.

It wasnt a minute later that I heard two distinctive sounds coming from the direction of my pasta pot.  I didnt really think anything of it, assuming it was the jars bumping together, until my boiling water was bubbling green like a cauldron.  And there were cucumbers floating in it.  Cucumbers that I had just put into the jars.  Hmmm.  Well shit.  That must be what that thingy at the bottom of the water bath canners is for.  Who knew (except everyone else and ALL the books I had read!)?

 The pickles were a loss though I will make the recipe again since the whole house smelled like fantastic pickles for a while.  I strained them into a colander, picked out the jar lids cuz I am cheap, and tossed the rest into the trash.

The way I figure, the reason my jars had never cracked before was because the jam I put into them was very hot as well and served to temper the glass jar somehow.  These cucumbers were cold even though the pickling brine was hot, and the temperature difference between the pot and the glass jar caused the keeeerrrraaakkk.  Lesson learned.  My pickle passion cannot be tamed! 

I have been eying one of those pretty petal or snow flake shaped silicon coasters for sometime but never forked up the cash for one in real life.  Instead, I have improvised.  I had a square silicon hot pad with a basket weave pattern.  Since this pickle fail, I have cut out some of the faux-woven bits to allow air bubbles through and created my very own pickle disaster evading device.  I am certain it will perform admirably.

DIY Jar Protector Device

My two other batches of pickles came out unscathed in large part because they are the fermented kind and were no where near the heat of the stove.  I am really loving the book Joy of Pickling. The recipes seems straight forward and tasty and I like her style of writing.  So far I have checked it out of the local library but there are so many different recipes within those pages that I would love a copy of my own (hint hint).

Load from top, not the bottom!
The recipe I was attempting to make was as follows:
Bread-and-Butters My Way (Linda Ziedrich's Way)
3.5 pounds 3-5 inch pickling cucumbers
1/4 c pickling salt
4 t yellow mustard seeds
1 t celery seeds
1 t hot pepper flakes
3 c cider vinegar
1 c water
1/2 c sugar
1 t ground turmeric

Cut the cucumbers in even slices (a mandolin helps), mix them with the pickling salt, and cover with ice for several hours.  Drain the cucumbers and mix in all the spices except the turmeric.  Boil the vinegar, water, sugar, and turmeric until the sugar is dissolved.  Pack hot jars loosely with the cucumber slices and top with the boiling liquid, leaving 1/2 inch head space.  Process for 10 minutes (assuming, unlike me, that you get that far).

1 comment:

  1. Hi Sarah! Thanks for stopping by Comfy Cuisine! I do hope you try those pickles! We all have to learn by trial and error, but your recipe sounds great!