It's safe to say that for now, things are looking up. Yay! I'm very thankful for that let me tell ya ;) I'm happy to be back here sharing things with all of you.
If you remember, I started fermenting some pickles a while back and they are done. Here is what they look like now (on the left) compared to what they looked like when I started (on the right).
Over done to be exact. I let them go just a little too long and now some of the larger ones are just a little but squishy. That's ok though! This was my first time fermenting pickles and I really feel like I know what I'm getting into and have a better feel for it. There is no loss without some small gain as Ma Ingalls would say. I'm pretty happy with the amount that I got out of this batch, even if it was just a little on the skimpy side (and I know now that it was my operators error that made my yield be a lot lower). I canned up 6 quarts of these little beauties and they are SO DELICIOUS!
For the set up to the fermentation process, see this post. What I did today would be considered part 2 I suppose.
Take the pickles out of the bucket, and strain the pickling liquid into a large pot. I strained mine through 4 layers of cheesecloth in a strainer.
Get all of your canning equipment ready to go: Canner filled with water at a gentle boil on the stove, jars placed in the canner to stay hot, rings and lids in a small pan of hot water, jar lifter, funnel and measuring cup. Place a folded towel on a clean counter top so you have somewhere to safely set your processed jars of pickles.
Bring your pot of pickling brine to a boil. When it has come to a full, rolling boil, place a head of dill and a garlic clove (optional) into the bottom of the jar. Fill with pickles to 1/4 inch headspace.
Ladle in the hot brine and wipe down the rim of the jar.
Place on your lid and screw down the ring. Using the jar lifter, place your jar into the boiling water canner to wait until all the jars are filled.
Make sure the water is completely covering the jars (by and inch or more) and bring the water to a boil (if it's not already). Process quarts for the appropriate time at your elevation. I'm at about 1400 feet, so I processed these for 20 minutes.
After they have processed, lift them out and place them on the towel. Let them sit undistribed for 12-24 hours or until they are completely cool. Check to make sure they have all sealed and remove the rings. WIpe down the jars and store in a cool, dry place.
These pickles will be ready to eat right away, as soon as they are cooled off but I think that giving them a week or so to absorb a little more of the dill flavor would be a great idea.
All in all, I'm really pleased with this and I will be doing it again. I need to refine and perfect a couple of my pickling practices so I can get a better end product, but the learning experience was so much fun and so informative. I look forward to fermenting more pickles in the near future!