Pickles (a how-to)!

I love pickles. When I was a kid and my dad made our school lunches, he would wrap pickle quarters with a slice of bologna and American cheese and hold everything in place with a toothpick. My brother and I would each get three of these.

And in the summer, my brother and I would walk the three, long blocks (this was LA, after all) with our neighbors Starr and Sarai to the butcher shop where they kept five-gallon jar of pickles which we bought for fifty cents each. Starr and Sarai would buy one, then fight over who got to eat the “pickle booty.” My brother and I were slightly more affluent and each got our own pickles.

So, last year, I noticed a whole group of Russian ladies elbowing each other out of the way at a stand at the farmers market. When I got closer, I saw that they were competing for the best pickling cucumbers.

Well, I thought, I should give pickling a try. I’ve canned many other things. How hard can making pickles be?

Turns out, it’s really simple. It’s even simpler than making jam. So I added making cucumber pickles to my list of canning activities last year. They were incredible.

So far, I’ve made two batches this year. I end up giving most of them away, and save a couple of jars for myself.

Only problem? What once was a hippyish, old-fashioned pastime has become a trendy, crafty hobby. This article in the LA Times says that pickles are the new, “it,” schmancy restaurant condiment. And once ReadyMade magazine ran an article all about canning, it became hip to can. That means finding pectin and canning jars is that much harder come summer.

Anyway, if you want to try your hand at this, the recipe I follow is here. Photos from my latest canning session are below.

Quartered cucumbers, from the Heart of the City farmers market.

Sterilizing the jars. Despite a decade of canning, I’ve never invested in a canner. I find that a large roasting pan works just fine (though I have been eying a canning processor at the hardware store).

Fresh dill, also from the farmers market.

Peeled, whole cloves of garlic.

Sterilized, hot jars, just waiting to be filled with cukes and pickle jus.

Ready for their brine.

So, what does one do with eight jars of pickles? Give a couple of them away, spend summer making burgers, store some for Christmas presents, and prepare a few batches of this potato salad for pot luck barbecues and picnics! Of course, you can always try the time-tested treat of pickles wrapped with bologna and American cheese. Really, you won’t be disappointed.

9 thoughts on “Pickles (a how-to)!”

  1. Hi, I do think this is a great site. I stumbledupon it ;) I
    will revisit once again since i have book-marked it.
    Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to guide others.

  2. You really make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this matter to be actually something that I think I would never understand.
    It seems too complicated and very broad for me. I’m looking forward for your next post, I
    will try to get the hang of it!

  3. I’m impressed, I have to admit. Seldom do I come
    across a blog that’s both equally educative
    and interesting, and let me tell you, you have hit the nail on the head.
    The problem is an issue that not enough men and women are
    speaking intelligently about. Now i’m very happy that I came
    across this during my search for something relating to this.

Comments are closed.

Scroll to Top