Pickling Pickles - An Easier Way to De-Scum the Brine
Pickling pickles is a lot easier than it used to be with this newer technique. Just about anyone can do it with hardly a drop of sweat put into it. It makes a great, fun activity to do with your family and, as a result, you'll also have some of the best tasting pickles out there to munch on afterward.
This is NOT the old, frustrating technique you used to use where you had to manually de-scum the brine and all that jazz. You'll be surprised how easy this way of pickling pickles is.
Let's get started!
Fortunately, none of the ingredients needed are very expensive at all.
#1 - Clear vinegar: A few cups of 5% vinegar, apple cider vinegar.
#2 - Cucumbers - Make sure the ones you select are crisp and fresh. Ensure there are no wilts or soft spots or your pickles won't turn out right.
#3 - Quick Process Pickling mix - You don't need to buy very much of this stuff. If used correctly, a single $2 packet will make about 12 or 13 pint-sized jars.
Below is a complete list of all of the equipment you will need for pickling pickles. It seems like a long list, but you'll do best to make sure you have everything on there before you start. If you don't already have everything there, just bookmark this page so you can come back to it later, when you have all the equipment and you're ready to begin.
- 1 large pot
- 1 Canner
- Pint canning jars
- Large spoon or ladle
- Jar grabber
- Lid lifter
- Jar funnel
Step by Step Directions
Now it's time to get to the meaty part of this article and go hands on. Feel free to print this page so you can follow along each step while actually doing it.
Step 1 - Clean and cut your cucumbers
Thoroughly rinse off the cucumbers with cold tap water and set them aside. After they've all been well rinsed, pick them up one by one and remove the blossomed ends. The reason for this is the blossom ends contain enzymes that will soften them, so they need to be removed.
Once finished, set them aside for now. We'll come back to them in a few steps.
Step 2 - Sanitize your jars and lids
You can use a dishwasher for the jars. If you don't have a dish washer, submerge the jars in a large pot of boiling water and let them cook and sanitize in there for a few good minutes to make sure they are 100% sterile before removing them. You'll want to use your jar grabbers to submerge and remove them, so you don't accidentally burn yourself.
Fill the canner up half way, put the lid on and let it start heating up.
Set the lids in the pot of hot, boiling water for a few minutes. We're going to sanitize everything completely in a few steps anyways.
Step 3 - Prepare the pickling mix
Sure, you can make your own pickling mix, but that is extremely time consuming and not at all worth it, when you can just pay $2.00 for a pre-made packet of the stuff. If you already know how to do that and $2.00 is too much money to spend on making pickles, go ahead and prepare your own mix, but I won't be covering how to do that in this article.
Go ahead and mix your packet of pickling mix with your vinegar and bring it to a near boil. You want it just barely be simmering. The packet of pickling mix you purchased will tell you how many cups of vinegar to add to it, but it's usually right around 4 or 5 cups, depending on the bag.
NOTE: Do NOT use a metal pot for this. The metal will react with the pickling solution and make it turn cloudy. Not ideal for the best pickles. Also, try adding one or two grape leaves to each jar of pickles as this will make them turn out crunchier.
Step 4 - Fill the jars
Now it's time to pack your pre-cut cucumbers into the jars and pour your vinegar / pickle mix solution over them. You'll want to fill each jar with liquid up to about a fourth of an inch from the lid.
Once each jar is filled, begin setting on the lids and hand-tightening the rings around them.
Step 5 - Boil the jars
Set the jars of cucumbers and pickle solution inside of your canner and cover them with approximately an inch of water. Set the water to boil and keep it boiling as hot as it can for about 10 to 11 minutes.
Use your jar grabber to safely remove the jars from the canner and sit them on a dry towel somewhere secure and safe. Let them cool over night while the solution settles into the cucumbers and finalizes the pickling process.
How soon can you eat them? Well, the soonest I'd recommend even considering eating them is not for at least 24 hours. However, if you want the best tasting pickles in the world, wait 2 weeks.
And that's all folks! You just made your own pickles. Congratulations.
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