Sunday, September 4, 2011

Making Pickles

I confessed to a friend, Pat, recently that I had never made jam.

"What?", she said, "You, of ALL people, should be making jam!  You are a farm girl!"

Sister, this FARM girl grew up in suburbia. 

I did have enough farm visits to relatives to know where milk came from, to appreciate that something had to die so that I could eat roast chicken and know that nothing I could buy in a store could come close to my grandmother's apple butter. 

My grandparents were the original homesteaders that many "back-to-the-basics" folk are now trying to emulate.  (In fact, I think Ma and Papa would really get a kick out of the homesteading blogs that I follow and be amazed that people are having to research how to grow potatoes.)   My own mother grew up in "hard times" but she raised her own family during the "good times" when everything suddenly became available in ready-made form and families had the money to purchase all of their groceries.  I'm sure at one time, she would have made pickles, jams and preserves, but I don't recall it and the knowledge of this art was certainly not passed down.

So...I mentioned to hubby that I thought I would make pickles this year.  Thus set off a never ending discussion (which could be called debate) on what we would pickle, how we to pickle, what equipment we needed to pickle....and so on.  I quickly tired of pickling before we even started.

My teenager can eat a 1 litre jar of dill pickles in 2 days.  Hubby calculated how much we could save by pickling our own.  It was becoming evident that this pickling idea was not going to disappear and it was going to be a family project.

So, this morning, we were at the hardware store buying jars and tongs.  Then, to the grocery store to buy pickling spice and cider vinegar.  Then, to the vegetable stand to buy pickling cucumbers, garlic and carrots.

There we were, a family of three, working together to make dilled pickled, carrots and green beans for the first time.  Boiling water, knives and hot glass jars all in close proximity. 

Did I say "working harmoniously"?  No, I did not.

I'm glad to say that no one was hurt in the making of these pickles.

We are all proud of our production though.  We may do it again.


luckybunny said...

How exciting! I can't believe you had never done either, but we all have to start somewhere right? :) It's messy and tiring, but it's so worth it. This winter you'll be enjoying your pickles, and you'll likely plan on making more! Jam/jellies are easy to make. You should try the peach butter, it's super easy, requires no pectin or anything, it's just like apple sauce but peach. :) I'm glad you were all able to work together - as much as possible, lol, I know what you mean about glad you all survived!

Bug's Mommy said...

Congrats! I made my first pickles this year too, and it turned out to be more fun than frustrating. I did it in smaller batches, so it was less intimidating.

Azure Islands Designs said...

Lol...congratulations on the pickles Norma...sounds like it may have been fun, or at the very least interesting? :~)

I've never attempted to pickle, preserve or make jams...don't think I will at this stage of the game so I admire your attempt!