I grew up on those crispy store-bought pickles that you get in the refrigerator section at the store, but as I started to remove process from our foods and really checked out the ingredients in those things I decided it was time to make my own. Huz & I started to experiment with different ways to can/pickle cucumbers. Huz grew up canning pickles so it was fun taking his base knowledge and experimenting. It took a few years and even Huz’s Mom trying out a few ideas for us to land on this way of canning cucumbers into those crispy pickles. Lets get started!
PS – Honeybee update below: Extracting honey day photos
- Cucumbers, ideally the size for pickling.
- Fresh Dill
- Garlic cloves, one per jar
- Brine – see this post on how to make brine…
- Wide Mouth Canning jars (wide mouth makes it easier to pack the pickles because you can fit your hand in the jar)
- Wide Mouth Canning lids
- Wide Mouth Canning rings
Directions: Note, I was making 6 jars for this post.
Rinse pickles well to remove spines or grime and set aside in a colander until time to pack into jars. Next, peel and skin all the garlic cloves. Then place a clove of garlic and sprig of dill into your jar. This is all I like, very simple, but at this point if you want to try to add more spices feel free, a quick google search should give you ideas.
Next it is time to pack your pickle jars with the cucumbers. Depending on the size of your cucumbers you can either cut them into slicers or pack them whole. We did 2 whole jars and the rest as slicers since we had quite a few long ones. Huz is the pickle packer in this family, he is very good at wedging those suckers in the jars. The reason you pack pickles as tight as possible is it uses less brine and you fit more cucumbers in a jar netting in more pickles! See packing photos below…
Now are going to “hot pack” can our pickles, because if you put them in a pressure cooker you would cook them to death. Heat up your brine until it is boiling. (To see how to make brine click HERE) For this batch of 6 jars heat up about a gallon of brine. That should be enough unless they are not packed well, you might need a bit more. Once the brine is boiling fill each jar with the boiling brine solution and let them sit for 10 minutes. This heats up the pickles. See pictures below.
While waiting the 10 minutes, fill a small sauce pan with an inch or 2 of water, put the number of canning lids you will use in the pan, and turn on to a medium-high heat. This will heat up your lids, and help in the sealing process. Set on a low heat once boiling until ready for use.
Once the 10 minutes is up drain the brine into a different pot, and refill the jars again with boiling brine. Once full with brine, top with canning lid, and screw on a ring, hand tight to ensure a good seal. We have a handy magnetic lid grabber I would recommend having on hand, you can usually find them in the canning section at your local grocery store. It makes taking the rings out of the water so much easier. See pictures below.
At this point, you have a couple of options:
- For Crispy: – Once you have all your jars done, place them while still hot in the freezer for about an hour. Watch them after an hour, once they feel cool to the touch remove them. Ensure all have sealed, date, and store in your fridge. The reason they stay crispy is because you cool them down fast, not allowing the brine to cook them for a second time. Note: We have tried this method, then stored them in our canning area rather than fridge, and while they stay crisper longer, eventually they do get soft. Keeping them cool, keeps them crisper. Below is a picture of my finished product going into the fridge. They will keep up to a year or two in your fridge.
- For non-crispy: You can set them aside and let them cool at room temp until they seal. Once cool, date lid, ensure they sealed, and place in your canning storage area until ready for use. They will keep up to a year or two in your pantry.
- The only down fall to this version is if you want them to stay crispy you need to keep them in the fridge. That is why each year we do between 6 to 9 jars. For 2 – 4 people who are not huge pickle eaters this is a perfect amount for crispy pickles.
- NOTE – If you do not care about the “crispness” of the pickles, rather than moving them to the freezer for the quick cool down you can just leave them on the counter until they seal, then date them for proper yearly rotation and place them with your canning storage
MIddle of August, and it is honey extraction time. Here are a few pictures and quick explanation of the process:
We pulled 15 medium and 5 deep honey frames from our hives
- Then we uncapped the honey using an uncapping knife.
- Then we place the frames in an extractor, which spins the frames full of honey. Centrifugal force pulls the honey out of the frames and it pours out the base of the extractor in to a bucket with a strainer over it to catch any pieces of wax or other particles that also spin out.
- So far we have extracted around 50 pounds of honey. Great use for mega-bars!
Please let me know if you have any comments or questions! Enjoy ~ Megan