Friday, March 15, 2013

Pintest MacGyver - Bread and Butter Pickles

Everyone reaction to my first try with dill pickles was pretty much, "those pickles are huge!" *Sigh* Thanks.

I still had the canning bug so I went back to the store the next day to get more organic cucumbers.

This pintest came via this pin and the information here.

Beware: when I got started I didn't realize how many things I was out of that I still needed and had to MacGyver the situation and hope for the best.

I started off knowing the recipe called for pickling spice and I didn't have any. I can feel a little wary of purchasing this sort of thing, it makes me feel like I'm buying taco seasoning and fills me with silica related fear. Google came up with this pretty acceptable recipe of how you make your own pickling spice.

2 tablespoons mustard seeds
2 tablespoons whole allspice
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
2 teaspoons whole cloves
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf, crumbled
1 cinnamon stick (2 inches)

Simple enough right? Not for me when I found I was out of mustard seeds, had no allspice of any sort, had ground cloves instead of whole, my bay leaves were already crumbled, and I don't think I've actually ever owned red pepper flakes.

It was substitution and conversion time.

Substituting mustard seeds: 1 teaspoon of dried mustard is equal to 1 teaspoon of prepared mustard. I didn't have dried mustard. But I did have prepared mustard! To convert mustard seeds to dried mustard, 1 tablespoon of prepared mustard can be substituted for 1 teaspoon of dried mustard.

I needed 2 tablespoons of mustard seeds and ended up just using 2 tablespoons of prepared, plain, yellow mustard.

To make your own allspice: mix equal parts nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves. This nearly got hairy when I thought I was also out of nutmeg :O
If you only have ground cloves and not whole: 1 tsp whole cloves = 3/4 tsp ground cloves. I chose to just eyeball this one because my measuring cups and spoons have been disappearing.

Don't have red pepper flakes? I used half the amount called for in cayenne pepper.

2-1/2 cups granulated sugar As it turned out I had enough sugar but not enough of other things. At first I put in 1 1/4 cups but then I found out I didn't have enough apple cider vinegar so I took out 3 or 4 1/8cups.
2 cups cider vinegar (5% acidity) I only had 1/2 cup and wasn't making as many as the recipe called for
1 cup water I used 1/4 cup
1 tsp salt Completely forgot the salt because I was so frazzled
1 tsp celery seed Didn't have any and just abandoned all hope
1 Tbsp mustard seed Didn't feel compelled to add extra
1-1/2 Tbsp mixed pickling spice I think I ended up using 1/2 tbsp of my own mix
(cinnamon stick, ginger, mustard seeds, cloves, peppercorns, chilies, etc.)
3-1/2 pounds cucumbers, cut into 1/4″ slices I cut up 2 cucumbers

So as you can see I was going to be throwing absolute skin to the wind and seeing what on earth I ended up with.

In a 5-quart pot (non-aluminum) I have no idea what size the pot I used was, the one I wanted to use was dirty, combine sugar, vinegar, water and spices. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add cucumber slices. 

Return to a boil, stirring gently and trying to submerge slices as they cook. I had so little brine they really weren't able to submerge at all.  
When the pot returns to a boil, boil for 90 seconds, then remove from heat. The slices should have changed from a bright cucumber green to a darker pickle green. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, fill hot jars with pickles slices, then fill each with pickling liquid, leaving 1/8″ head space. (You may have extra brine; you can refrigerate this up to a week if you are making another batch soon.) Wipe rims clean with a damp paper cloth and add lids and rings. Process in a boiling water bath — 20 minutes for quarts, 10 minutes for pints. Begin timing when the water has returned to a boil after you submerge your jars.

I used an old Claussen jar. My pickles looked nothing like the one from the pin but smelled like bread and butter pickles should. The slightly puffy top of the jar freaked me out so I ran out of the kitchen and hoped nothing exploded.
I wasn't having a great day that day and an explosion felt entirely possible.

Having no idea when these were considered edible I decided to wait for one of the following things:
1) It really did explode and I had to clean it up
2) I felt ready to try out what MIGHT be terrible

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