Finishing Kitchen Projects

Whew!  Mike has been so sweet to follow in my footsteps in the kitchen this weekend, cleaning up after me as I go.  And the dishes, pots, utensils, and tools are piling up faster than he can load them into the dishwasher.  I've really appreciated his help because some of this stuff is heavy, and has to be washed by hand.  He does a better job wrestling with it than I do.

Since I know you've all been sitting on the edge of your computer chairs waiting to see what the two mystery kitchen projects might be, I'm here to tell you.

The first project started with these:

I have Sue at Zzyzx & Sue to thank for putting me onto the Pioneer Woman's Cherry Sherbet recipe.  This looked so good to me.  You can go to the Pioneer Woman's link to see how it's made.  I'll just say that I cooked it up yesterday, then let it chill in the fridge over night.  Then, this morning, I churned it into sherbet.  Yum.

Then, I got to work with these ingredients

and made dill pickles.  I have wanted to make pickles for at least an entire decade.  When Mike and I were first married, a co-worker of his gave us a jar of her home-made dill pickles.  To this day, they are the best pickles I've ever eaten.  I could never get her to share her recipe, and so I'm trying a different one from my favorite pickling resource:

It's taken me this long because I didn't have a pickle crock before.  And since I didn't really have the time to make pickles, I never invested in one.  At some point, I decided this was the year, and a few days ago, I invested in a five-gallon crock.  This is a short-brine dill pickle recipe, and so yesterday, I got the pickles going in the brine and allowed them to sit overnight.  Here they are emerging from their brine bath.

If you don't count the overnight brining, these pickles go together in a few hours.  You make a pickling solution from water, cider (or white) vinegar, pickling salt and sugar.  Then you pack the pickles into jars (pints or quarts--I used quarts) along with three dill heads

One or two cloves of garlic (my cloves were big, so I used just one in most of the jars)

four peppercorns

(I must have seen a ghost in between the garlic image and the peppercorn image.)

Finally, 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes.  This part is optional, but I strongly suspect that is what made Mike's coworker's pickles so delicious, so I put it in.

Once you put all of that in the jar, you can load them with the pickling cucumbers, ladle the pickling solution over, and lid the jars.  Now they're ready for the boiling water bath canner.

Boil them for 15 minutes (20 minutes for my 1,400 feet of elevation), and you have beautiful quarts of dill pickles, beautiful as emeralds.

Now comes the hard part.  Stow them away in a dark place for one full month before opening.  No cheating!  I'll have to let you know how they taste in a month.  My blog is just chock full of suspense, isn't it?  Yes sirree.  It doesn't get any more exciting than watching pickles pickle.

3 comments from clever and witty friends:

Lynda Halliger-Otvos said...

May I get a ticket to a front row seat at the pickling ?~! I miss excitement where they rolled up the sidewalks after supper at 5:30 pm every night.

Amy said...

I love dill pickles but never had the gumption to try to make them. Good for you for giving it a try. Keep us posted in a month on how they turn out.

quiltzyx said...

Hah! I finally made the cherry sherbet too!! And boy did I make a mess - I used my food processor, and was so jazzed to get going on it, that I forgot to process the cherries first, before I added the milk...on the first blip, it jumped up & came out from under the lid, down the sides of the container!!! Oh well. It still came out awesomely yummy. Next time I'll use the blender instead. :D

The pickles look great too - my mouth actually watered when I saw them! lol