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This may sound odd to admit, but the smell of pickle brine brings back so many childhood memories. Those times when I would be in the kitchen, watching my mom and grandma slicing cucumbers, stuffing the jars, and pouring the brine on top. Even today, each item I can (many still with my mom) brings back a certain memory and every smell triggers a warm thought from growing up.
As a kid, I was accustomed to (almost) everything we ate being canned from the garden:
- pickle relish
- corn relish
- hot peppers
- hot pepper mustard
- tomato juice
- tomato soup (seriously, the best soup ever!)
The list goes on and on! Naturally, I acquired a taste for home-canned and frozen goods. Today, most store-bought items just don’t quite satisfy in the same way.
I’ll admit, pickling is definitely more work than going to the local grocer and buying a jar of pickles. But you may be surprised how quickly the whole process can go. A couple hours out of your day and you can have a canner full of pickles (seven quarts to be exact).
The “old” way to make pickles would involve cooking your brine from scratch. While I love the idea, we as a family have found that buying Mrs. Wages packets is not only quick but provides great flavor. Just follow the directions on the packet.
Use cucumbers that have not become overgrown. If the cucumbers are too large, the middle will be extremely seedy and not good to use for pickles. Just watch as you are cutting. Cut the cucumbers in the way you like to eat a sliced pickle. You can do spears too if you prefer.
One important step is to make sure to hear the jars seal, which is usually called the music to any canners’ ears: the “ding” of the jars sealing. It’s a great sound!
- 1 packet Mrs. Wages pickle brine
- Heat up the brine while preparing the cucumbers. One packet of Mrs. Wages makes seven quarts.
- Cut the cucumbers in the way desired for a sliced pickle. Spears are a great option. Use cucumbers that have not become overgrown. If the cucumbers are too large, the middle will be extremely seedy and not good to use for pickles.
- Stuff the sterilized jars with the sliced cucumbers. Some people will tell you to dip the jars into boiling water for a few minutes. As a fast alternative, fill the dishwasher with jars and run on the heavy cycle! Do not simply throw the cucumbers in the jars. Make sure to tap the jars on the table or press down with your hand so they're well filled.
- Once filled, pour boiling brine on the cucumbers up to the neck of the jar. Wipe the rims of the jars with a paper towel dipped in hot water to re-sterilize.
- Place prepared canning lids (warmed in hot water on the stove) and rings on the jars, turning tightly to seal.
- These pickles can be hot water bathed to seal, which is easier and safer than pressure canning. Have the water heating up in the canner. Let the canner come back to a boil after placing the jars and then set the timer for five minutes.
- Once the time is up, take out the jars and wait for the jars to seal.