Saturday, August 4, 2007

"How camest thou in this pickle?" - Shakespeare's The Tempest

The above is where the quote "in a pickle" was first introduced. I thought this would be a perfect lead-in to my post about our Pickling Day.
Every year Steve and I put up between 60 and 70 quarts of mainly pickled cucumbers and a smattering of pickled hot peppers and onions. At 7:00 tonight we finished our Pickling Day with a total of 65 quarts. I will set the stage for my pictorial by explaining how we do this without driving each other crazy.
First of all we each have separate tasks and separate work areas (that solves most of the problems right away). Steve is in the basement cleaning cucumbers, dill, peppers, garlic, and onions and getting them all ready for the jars. He has his mustard seed as well. Then he puts whatever he desires in each jar, making sure they are "just right". You couldn't slide a piece of paper between those cucumbers! It is very neat....
I am in the garage and am in charge of brine making, filling all the jars, sealing them and processing them in two canners. I have a timer and keep track of the boiling time until they are ready to be plucked out of the scalding water and put onto a huge piece of plywood set on sawhorses. Usually, during the down times, I read, listen to the radio or CDs and sort of veg. Today I brought my laptop into the garage and typed a 6 page letter to one of my penfriends in England. So it was very productive day. Enjoy the pictures ....
The jars and what goes into them . .. . . . .
Cucumbers, garlic, Habaneros, Jalapenos, and onions

A Dilly of a pug!! (Garm is afraid to come down into the basement.)
And we have lift-off ! ! !
I wish I were that precise at anything!

Pug inspecting the goods ........ Oh, no. Pug in the cucumbers! Anyone for pickles with their dog hair ???

The highly classified documents that I am entrusted with . . . .

This is a very nice setup and I get to look outside all day.

The beautiful finished product and Hey!! What's he doing horning

in on my territory!?

Pickled Jalapenos and cucumbers and . . . .


An unfortunate fatality. His bottom fell off! (I am sending the Ball people this picture.)

I don't eat any of these pickles because they are way too hot. Steve loves them and eats them every day! We give them as gifts and they are always a hit.

The only people not happy today were the pugs. They had to be in their crates most of the time because there was a lot of "in and out" going on. They will dash out of the house and aren't trained too well. Thea barked herself to sleep and Steve heard Garm howling like coyote. In a few short hours they were back out, taking a walk, pooping and having dinner. We are back in their good graces now.


"On a hot day in Virginia, I know nothing more comforting than a fine spiced pickle, brought trout-like from the sparkling depths of the aromatic jar below the stairs of Aunt Sally's cellar."

Thomas Jefferson


Bye for now,



Gina said...

I love this post! Thanks for sharing your pickles parade with us. I think I need to try that next year. Do you use all the same kind of cucumbers for the pickles? What kind are they? Did you grow them from seed?

kate said...

This is quite the production you have going! I enjoyed seeing all the action - the ingredients, the propane canning stations ... all those jars. Oh my! I loved the way you started off your post!

I also wanted to ask if you have ever visited this pug artist's site - She has much cool pug stuff.

Alyssa said...

Gina - Thank you for visiting. I'll have to admit we buy all the cucumbers from a local farmer.There is too much shade here to grow them well. But I think they are all the same kind.

Kate - It's just like a factory production line! Thank you for the pug site - I hadn't heard of it and I'm always looking for pug places to go!

Carol said...

That's an impressive assembly line you've got going there! I'm impressed. I don't can anything, as I am afraid all the bottoms would fall out of the jars, or they would explode or something!

Carol at May Dreams Garden

DeeMom said...

The BARD and his quotes…perfect for the POST
Impressive operation

The Jefferson quote is as well PERFECT!

Last year I dehydrated 21 quarts of garlic, haha this year I dinna plant any, figure I have a stash for at least 3 years, gifts etc all things being equal

Alyssa said...

Carol - You should give it a try. It's really quite easy. The jars never explode and this is the first time in at least 5 years I've had a jar crack and break.

Deemom - Yes, I think the Bard had a thought for nearly everything. I'd say you had enought garlic for years! Wow!

Kylee said...

Wow! You have been busy little bees!! I'll bet these pickles are yummy!

I'm glad to have found your blog, Alyssa, which I did because you visited mine. Thank you!

Also, thank you for the cosmos correction! I really do appreciate it! :-)

Alyssa said...

Kylee - Yes, Saturday was pretty much an all day pickle fest. I wish I liked those hot pickles but unfortunately they are too much for me.

Mary said...

Terrific post, Alyssa! I would buy a dozen jars from you because I devour pickled cucumbers, pickles, jalapenos, and *onions*!

You did a great job of showing the factory process. I laughed about how you and Steve need separate assignments and separate work areas! Same here! LOL!

Poor puggies - barking and howling themselves to sleep. Chloe & Bella would do the same and that's because they can't be trusted with open doors, either!

Alyssa said...

Mary - Glad you're back in the posting world. If Steve and I weren't in separate areas, no canning would get done! Glad you enjoyed the post and don't you wish dogs were born already trained??

Lizzie A said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lizzie A said...

WOW!! Lots and lots of pickles!! I have an almost completely unrelated story, only related by pickles, but I might put it in my next post. It looks like you had a blast with your pickles, and I had fun looking at all the pictures of them! I am sorry that I can't be more deep and interesting with my commenting today, but I just finished a HOT, LONG, HARD week of band camp, and I am wiped out!!

Hope that you are doing well, that your family is doing well, and that you have had a fabulous summer!

Finally, I wanted to thank you, for being the one person who takes the time to comment on my blog. I have many friends who blog, and whose blog I comment on, but they never seem to visit my blog, so I thank you for being one person who cares enough to keep commenting.

Now that I have finished using your valuable time, I will sign off.

Hope to hear from you soon, or if not I will realize that I have finally scared you away (just kidding!).

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