Oh boy, I did my first batch of canning and did pickles today! I did a lot of research for months, and since all of the foods I'm going to can are acid, I bought a steam canner. Before anyone started telling me why they are BAD, I did my research, and I don't always go with what the Feds choose to spend money on researching. I have been down that road before with supplements :) So please no comments on that, unless you've tried it and have some positive comments! I'd love to hear what you've made!
I used the Ball "Blue Book" recipe, with the "kosher style" variation, since I like spicier pickles. Added red hot pepper slices, red bell pepper slices, bay leaves, mustard seeds. I followed the Ball directions precisely, did all the sterilizing. I have to can outside, since we have a glass top range, no canning there. Our camp stove worked great, brought it to a boil, added hot pack jars, brought to 8" steam and started the timer. 15 minutes per batch.
The 1st batch came out with the pickles floating a little, I assuming I didn't pack tight enough. So I packed them tighter by adding some spears on the 2nd batch. Looked better now that they are done too. I did some small jars, because I wanted them for gifts or giveaways. NEVER again, too hard to pack, live and learn. Luckily I had more quart jars than I thought. The Ball recipe called for 8 lbs. cukes, way too much for the amount of brine. I had to make a 2nd batch of brine, which was okay, since I had enough ingredients. My total was 4 qts. jars and 7 pint jars. Took me about 2 1/2 hours total, not bad for a newbie.
Here's the before-
Man the whole house smells like pickles! I'm cooling off now... and the lids are starting to ping! More later!
And the "girls" got the leftover cuke chunks for a cool down treat, in the 90's again today, ugh. They LOVED them!