TapRoot Farms / Blog / Summer Pickling!

Summer Pickling!

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I can probably count the number of times we had store-bought jam, pickles or salsa in the fridge in my house growing up on one hand; every summer my family (just my mother and I as I got older and more interested in food preservation, and my brother got less interested) would go picking a variety of berries - strawberries and raspberries mostly - and and then make dozens of jars of jam both to eat and give away. When we moved into a house with a yard that allowed for it we started growing tomatoes, cucumbers, dill and (for the first time this year!) garlic for making our own homemade pickles and salsa. Since becoming an employee of TapRoot and after not being able to garden at all this year save for a small flower box and grow bag of tomatoes, I decided to do my pickling with produce from our lovely farm :).

This year at TapRoot we currently have two different pickling packs available (for dilly beans or cucumbers, as well as bulk cucumbers for bread and butter pickles) and hopefully more variety coming soon! I got myself one of each of the pickling packs and grabbed a couple of zukes and carrots that I had in my fridge from the weeks shares to make a couple jars of "mixed" pickles.

 
First assemble all your ingredients, I used:
  • One dilly cucumber pickling pack containing 10 pounds cucumbers, two heads of garlic and a bunch of dill
  • One dilly bean pack containing the same, replacing the cucumbers with 5 lbs of yellow beans
  • 10 small carrots  *
  • One green and one yellow zucchini *
  • Dried cayenne peppers *
  • Red pepper flakes *
  • Mixed peppercorns *
  • Fresh thyme and basil *
  • Bernardin pickle crisp - my mom and I use this because we highly value crispy pickles. Mushy = yucky and usually if they're not crispy we end up tossing them anyways.
*These are all optional - I wanted to make some pretty mixed pickle jars for Christmas gifts*
 
Next we sanitized the jars
There's a couple ways to sanitize your jars - we used our canning pot of boiling water since we had it out already for processing. 
While the jars sanitized we scrubbed the cucumbers and let them sit in cold icy water which is supposed to help them retain their crispiness. We also washed and trimmed the beans and prepped the rest of the veggies.
 
Put our spices in the jars
We use a dill flower and a good little bundle of the leaves - some people use the stem but we don't usually.
For four jars of the beans I used a whole dried cayenne pepper (Thanks, Teri!) and for the other four I used 1/2 tsp of multicoloured peppercorns and 1/4 tsp of dried red pepper flakes.
For my mixed pickles I also did half with cayennes, half with peppers and flakes and I also added fresh thyme and basil from the garden. I put one whole (or two pieces depending on their size) garlic clove in every jar.
 
Packed in the veggies
 Some of my beans are a bit long - you want them trimmed to the neck of the jar. You pack in your veggies so there is no wiggle room, but do not crush the beans or other veg! 
 
Poured in the brine, placed the sanitized snap lids and rings on and processed the jars for ten minutes.
 I use a 1:1 ratio of vinegar:water for my brine. You can make a milder brine, even a sweet one for the mixed pickles but I love super salty-vinegary pickles. After pouring in the brine you want to tap it on the counter or poke around the veg with a skewer/chop stick to ensure there are no air bubbles. 
 
 

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