Well, I finally finished loading all of the pictures for this post and phew! Talk about visual overload! I went a little overboard, but I feel like it was necessary. You see, this was my first time canning, and even though it's a fairly straightforward process, I think it's definitely something you need to see done once by someone who knows what they're doing. Thus, the insane amount of pictures.
So here's the story: It all started out with our annual summer pilgrimage to my best friend's family homestead in Rockford, Michigan. I was talking about my "30 Goals In 30 Weeks" blog series, and when I mentioned that one of my goals was to can something, what started out as a typical visit ended in an afternoon making delicious homemade pickles!
It was a happy coincidence that I got the opportunity to complete my first "30 Weeks" goal with my best friend Tiffany, with expert advice from her mother Connie of Grand Shire Farm. Connie is a Master Gardener who sells herbal soup and dip mixes at Fulton Street Farmers Market, the oldest and largest farmers market in Grand Rapids. She was at the market bright and early Friday morning, and when she heard I'd never canned, she loaded up her trunk with fresh pickling cucumbers from the market so that we could can and pickle them!
We made two kinds of pickles in one canning session (bonus!): Sweet Bread and Butter Pickles and Dill Pickles. So consider yourself warned: This is a ridiculously long, photo-jammed tutorial!
Homemade Bread and Butter Pickles
3 onions, thinly sliced
1/4¼ cup coarse salt
4 cups cracked ice
2 ½ 1/2 cups cider vinegar
2 ½ 1/2 cups sugar
3/4¾ teaspoon turmeric
½1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
Homemade Dill Pickles
3 tablespoons mixed pickling spices
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup salt
1 quart vinegar
1 quart water
7 sprigs fresh dill
7 grape leaves
7 garlic cloves, sliced
Connie let me lower the rack into the pot for the dill pickles after I'd watched her do it with the sweet pickles. See why I recommended that you work with someone who knows what they're doing the first time around? :)
And then voila: Homemade pickles! Not too shabby, huh?
I really hope you enjoyed this tutorial--mostly because it took FOREVER to put it all together! A big thank you to Connie and Tiffany for the opportunity, and thank YOU for reading! If you try this at home, be sure to comment and let me know how it turned out!