I Hug Cucumbers

Today I picked nine cucumbers! I collected the hugful from Rex’s, Jude’s, and Daddy’s garden. WOW! With that many cucumbers, I decided to make Refrigerator Pickles like I did last year.

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The recipe is quite simple…but it took a while to convince myself to do it. Canning is no quick job, even canning that doesn’t do the final, boiling step, like this recipe. But I can’t let them go to waste!

Whenever I can, I am reminded of my Great-grandma Candy who lived in a small house on the acreage where I grew up. On hot summer days, I could always find her in a long sleeve blouse, pants, and a head scarf, raking or weeding her garden, which must have been a fourth of an acre. She loved to spend time in her garden, and she loved to can cucumbers. She always made spicy dill pickles, and my brother and I would challenge each other at suppertime to see if we could eat a whole one. Grandma Candy loved to can, no matter how hot it was outside or how hot her little house became on the inside when she got busy with this task. She loved to share her canned goods, and she also stored many of them in an old-fashioned, underground cellar.

So finally, this weekend, I followed the Ball Canning book and boiled:

1 cup of vinegar

3 cups of water

1 tbsp of pickling spice

2 cloves of garlic

3 sprigs of dill (dried from our garden)

Then, I had Jude pack the jars with cucumbers I sliced. He helped me last year but only wanted to do one jar this year. I’ll take what help I can get.

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After the brine came to a boil, I poured it into the cucumber-filled jars and screwed on the lid. With traditional canning, the final step would be to boil the jars with the cucumbers and brine for 10-15 minutes and wait to hear the seal pop. This is the speedy version, however I did hear the seal pop simply from the hot brine inside.

We made of batch of six jars with plenty of brine left-over. So, I used my cucumber scraps and the two remaining cucumbers and made a batch to eat right away. These jars are supposed to be stored in the fridge for one month before eating, and they’ll stay good for up to three months.

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