Yesterday was the official day for canning pickles. This year, I got a canning partner who is also a long-time friend, Thaymer. She has been canning for years but this is her first time to can pickles. We started off at 9 AM at the Noblesville Farmers Market. We had to get there as soon as it opened so we could get the best cucumbers for canning. Needless to say, we bought the entire bunch at my favorite vendor…that accounted for a whopping 8 lbs. of pickling cucumbers. We also found another vendor and got an additional 5 lbs…our thought was if you are going to go, go big! All I can say is WHEW!!!!
While the cucumbers were sitting in pickling lime we took a short break to make some fresh strawberry jam with Peyton. In all we made enough to last through to next season. We also sliced up our onions and peppers and set out all of our remaining ingredients including yellow mustard seed, turmeric, celery seeds, sugar and apple cider vinegar.We also purchased a dozen onions and ran to the grocery to get jalapeno peppers and some more apple cider vinegar. Then on to home to slice up the 13 lbs. of cucumbers and prepare for a long day of canning. To start the pickling process, we put the sliced cucumbers in pickling lime and let them sit for about three hours.
After the cucumbers have sat in the pickling lime for three hours, we washed them really well three times to ensure all of the lime was off of them – this is a VERY important step as it can be toxic if ingested. After they were completely washed, we put them in an ice water bath for another three hours…lots of waiting in the process of canning but it is worth it!
After the entire mix has come to a boil, the pickles are ready for the canning process. At this point, we were at the 11 hour mark. It takes a full day, if not more, to can bread and butter pickles if you do it the right way but boy are they worth it!The next part of the process, in my opinion, is the most fun. Mix the vinegar, sugar and spices in a large pot and allow to boil. Add the onions and peppers followed by the cucumbers and bring to boil again.
Because we made so much and used the Ball canning pot for the final process, we had to use my other pots to sterlize the jars. In all, we canned 29 jars of sweet and spicy bread and butter pickles. I cannot wait to try them in a month or so.