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Pickles

grandma's painting

My grandma was FAMOUS for her pickles in Stayton! My uncle recently opened up a senior care home in her honor and I had the chance to paint this mural in memory of her in the entry way.

I never had the opportunity to learn from the source how to make them.  But last summer my aunt taught me how to make them. And today I got to teach some friends about them.  Its a fun process, but it takes a few hours.  NO matter how gumptious and quick you are, you need to set aside at least 3-4 hours and bring in a few friends to help in the process.  Its cool to watch the pickles take shape in the jars, they are so pretty and bright. Then when you soak ’em a while in the color starts to turn.

pickles changing color

Marcey’s Pickles

  • cucumbers
  • fresh dill stalks
  • garlic toes (peeled)
  • dried chili peppers (if desired)
  • rock salk
  • sugar
  • apple cider vinegar
  • mustard seeds
  • alum

*Amounts not specified because you can make as few as 3 quarts or as many as you want.

You’ll need to sterilize your canning jars. Running them through the dishwasher will do this just fun.  Let them air dry inside the dishwasher.  The seals need to be brand new, but the rings can be used.

Scrub your cucumbers in a bath of water. Try to removed the pockies.  Using a knife or your fingernail, scratch off the end where the flower used to be.  If you’re using small pickling cucumbers you can leave them whole.  If they are larger, slice them into 4ths or 8ths.  Some times larger pickle’s seeds can be a bit bitter.  So make sure to taste one before hand.

Stuff your jar with a stem of dill, 3-5 toes of garlic, 1-3 dried chili peppers (to desired heat), and pickles.

In a large stock pot, prepare your brine. You’ll make 3 quarts at a time.

4 cups of water

2 cups apple cider vinegar

4 Tbsp rock salt

4 Tbsp sugar

Bring brine to a boil.  Pour hot brine over packed jars of pickles.  Let sit for about five minutes.  While they are steeping, bring another batch of brine to boil. Pour onto 3 more quarts.  Be sure to keep these 3 newer ones separate from the first set.  Pour the brine from the original three back in the pan.  Reheat.  On a back burner, in a small sauce pan, heat some water to a boil and put in your your seals.  Add a dash of alum and an 1/8th of a tsp of mustard seed to the jars.  Pour brine back on top of pickles.  Place the seals on top, and screw on the ring. Repeat this double brining method for all the jars.

Next is the water bath.  You can do this as they come up, or wait until all the jars are sealed and ringed.  For me, it makes things easier to wait until the brining is all done.

Bring a large canning pot of water, preferably with a rack on the bottom, to a boil.  Boil jars in the water for 3 minutes.  Jars should not touch, and the water should be high on the jar, but does not need to cover it.

Remove jars, and turn upside down on a towel.  You should hear them popping.  Let sit until cooled to insure a good seal.

Be sure to clean off the outside of the jars before storing. They will be sticky.  Wait about a month before opening.

pickles

Feel free to be adventurous as to what you pickle.  Cucumbers are not the only thing you can pickle.  Try carrots, beets, cauliflower, lemon cucumbers….

What non-cucumber pickled things have you tried? And what were they served with? Comment below.

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About Katie Matheny

I am a teacher by day, and a wanna-be chef by night. I teach art and Spanish at a small school in Salem, Oregon to a fantastic group of soon-to-be world changers. I've loved cooking since I was a kid, and day dreamed while reading Betty Crocker's giant cookbooks. They were my picture books! I also work with a local non-profit that is doing some amazing things in Haiti. I have an amazing husband who I love to pieces. I love and serve Jesus, my King, and am striving to be a better example of who He is in myself. This is my life, in a few short words every-so-often. I hope you enjoy.

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