Thursday, August 26, 2010

Canning Fail

I decided to console myself over the overgrowth of my cucumbers by making pickles for the first time.

That's how all of this canning disaster started. I may be getting exposed to botulism as you read this.

I used my Baba's dill pickle recipe. Here are the instructions Giz sent me (relayed from her conversation with Baba):

Baba's Dill Pickles

Here's the recipe AS BABA GAVE IT - you'll need to figure out for yourself if you did it right.

For a 1 L jar

1 Tbsp Kosher Salt
Boiling water
2 Bay Leaves
2-3 whole cloves
2-3 cloves of garlic (for bottom of the jar and the same for the top) If the cloves are large use only 2 each
Dill (to form a layer on the bottom and on the top

Boil water - add salt to the boiled water (taste to make sure the water is salty enough - good luck figuring out what that means)
take skins off the garlic
layer dill (I would guess 1 - 2 on the bottom and same on the top or one stem head on bottom and one on top)
Add garlic, bay leaves and cloves
fit cukes into the jar so they're tight but a good fit
top with remaining garlic and dill
pour boiled salted water over the top and make sure the seal on the jar is good.

It takes about two weeks for them to sour properly but turn the jar over to make sure you don't have air leaks in the jar. When you turn it over it's just to check for air - then keep it bottom down.

Fast forward two weeks, I came home from vacation to see this:

My pickles did a disappearing act! The dented caps may be a hint as to their whereabouts..

I think one jar may have survived:

Then...the heavens parted and I got an e-mail from Loblaws, asking me if I would like to take part in their Grown Close to Home campaign.

Ummm...let me think about that for a second....YES!!! A few days later, this arrived:

From August to September, Loblaw banner stores will feature freshly harvested Canadian produce items displayed in special bins at the front of the stores. And, select Loblaw banner stores across the country will feature John Deere tractors to highlight the produce section. Approximately 40% of the produce found in Loblaws stores during this time are sources from Canadian growers. Definitely a step in the right direction, Loblaws!

The basket also included a DVD that demonstrates how to many strawberry jam, measuring cups, vinegar, pectin...and the list goes on. Thanks Loblaws -- I will definitely be giving the canning process another try. StumbleUpon


Julia said...

I made dill pickles a few weeks ago too, but didn't bother to can them since I they go pretty quick. I have more cukes that I will try canning this weekend. Funny - I've canned lots of toms but never any cukes... I always worry that the sterilization process will make them mushy.

Looking forward to hearing about your next canning experiment.

Pam said...

Oh, that's too bad about your pickles! I've never actually canned pickles, I pretty much just make refrigerator or freezer pickles because I am a scaredy cat.

giz said...

I think you may have misunderstood. I think Baba said to turn them over just to see if there were air bubbles and then store them right side up.

Psychgrad said...

I didn't misunderstand -- that's what I did.

Mad Men Girl said...

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bellini valli said...

Purolator called me yesterday and my canning supplies are here from Loblaws. It has been years since I canned a thing so this will give me the push I need.

Rebecka said...

You poor thing!! It's such an awful felling to go through all the motions of canning something you think will be divine and they turn out less than desirable! So sorry for your pickle loss!

I've been canning for years and have had many recipes fail! Don't give up! Those crisp yummy pickles with some homemade potato salad and burger are worth the effort!

I'm canning beets today, the recipe will be on my blog by tomorrow...their easy to can and taste amazing!!

Michelle said...

As I read the directions, there is no mention of a Boiling Water Bath. After you fill the jars with the pickles/vinegar, you have to immerse the jars in boiling water, making sure that there's at least 1" of water above the top of the jar. Boil for at least 15 minutes. Otherwise your jars will not seal properly.

Michelle said...

Oops I read the recipe wrong. There's no vinegar in this recipe and you can't can without adequate acid in the recipe.