Pickles

Most years at this time we make at least a half-bushelful of pickles. None of us are very satisfied with commercial pickles. Some of them are okay if there is nothing homemade available, but none of them hold a candle to the goodness of a well-made, home-canned pickle.

This year we did a full bushel, producing three different kinds: dill, mustard, bread & butter.

We had planned to have some new friends join us for the process this year to share our experience and learn to do it themselves, but that was not to be. Instead, we made a little video to show what we do.

I’ve posted that below and on Youtube, but to be truly useful, you will probably want our recipes:

kosher dills recipe (Bernardin circa 1992)

Kosher Dills

We return to this recipe year after year. This is probably our favourite pickle. Beth got it from the Bernardin canning hotline in about 1992 when we first began canning. I have not seen it on the Bernardin website. It is very successful in staying crispy–I’m not a fan of soggy dill pickles–and has a lovely flavour. It is fairly uncomplicated to make. I may transcribe it again someday, but for now you can use the photo of the copy Beth typed out in the early 90s stuck in our ratty home cookbook.

recipe for bread and butter pickles (Keeping the Harvest, 1991)

Bread and Butter

This is my favourite style of pickle from my childhood. I still like it a lot and think it goes very well with a comforting kind of lunch with grilled cheese and soup. Or maybe just as part of a cheese tray. I don’t know what recipe my mother used (she doesn’t either as she hadn’t made them for years), but this one, from an excellent canning book called Keeping the Harvest, certainly matches my memory. A lovely combination of sweet and sour.

recipe for mustard pickles (source unknown)

Mustard Pickles

I don’t know where we found this recipe. I just liked the idea and have enjoyed this quite a bit over the years. The mustard powder is the key spice, so make sure you use one you are happy with and is fairly fresh. We don’t dice the cukes, we mostly use small (size #1) cukes and cut them about 1cm thick.

photo of home pickled eggs

Pickled Eggs

I have seldom used a specific recipe for pickled eggs. Some of our favourite pickled eggs came from a someone who lived near Kinmount and sold them at the farmers’ market there. We would buy her dill eggs, jalepeno eggs and even the habenaro eggs. This year I did one jar simply using the dill recipe above, I did one with just dill (not the other spices) and lemon, and I did one with jalepeno. We’ll see how they turn out. The ones I did last year with the dill recipe were very good. However, we found that they had to sit for much longer before they were properly pickled. The cucumbers only take a few weeks before they are good, the eggs need at least six months I think.

Make pickles with us… virtually