Late last Saturday afternoon, Michael and I decided to head to Sauvie Island for some pickling cucumbers. This being our first time making pickles, or picking pickling cucumbers, I think I should have done a little more research. But alas, lazy as ever, we just headed out to Sauvie Island Farms for some U-Pick. Last year I stopped at Kruger's Farm Market and grabbed the already picked peaches I needed and some canning supplies. I did not pick anything myself. When they pick the fruit and veggies for you, they know what to pick. When you pick for yourself, I suggest doing some research.
It was a beautiful Saturday and we arrived about an hour before closing.
We headed to the pickling cucumber patch.
We picked nearly 20 pounds of pickling cucumbers
I had heard there were beaches on Sauvie Island, but I had never been to one. Michael and I took a drive around the island until we found a beach. See, here I am, on a beach, on Sauvie Island.
And here is where my pickling adventures began. Michael had done a much better job of picking cucumbers that would fit in the jars than I had. It became obvious that for many of the pickles (too long or too fat) I was going to need to slice them into rounds or spears in order to fit them in the jar. Also, some were too ripe with large seeds (when pickling cucumbers get beyond a certain size, they are too ripe). I decided to go ahead and not waste any of the cucumbers. I pickled them all.
I started with a recipe for Garlic Dill Pickles from the food blog Food in Jars
As you can see, there are lots of large seeds because I chose the largest cucumbers for slicing into rounds.
I then handpicked all the cucumbers that would fit into the large jars and pickled those whole using a combination of simple recipes. To each jar I added fresh dill, dill seed, mustard seeds, red chili flakes, peppercorns, cloves of garlic and a simple water, cider vinegar and pickling salt brine.
and then processed accordingly.
The jar below is very large... too large to fit in any water bath I own. So these will just go in the refrigerator for about 3 weeks.
I then took the shortest and fattest of the cucumbers and cut them into spears.
We ended up with 21 jars of pickles. Apparently they need to sit for at least three weeks before they are ready to serve. Once we give them a try and make sure they are edible, we will probably be looking to give some way. That's a lot of pickles.
(Above photo taken by Michael)
And finally, Stinky (er, I mean Tinkerbell) the Pickle Queen gives her approval.