I moved again last weekend. Yes, again. In case you aren’t keeping track, this is the 4th apartment I’ve lived in in the last year. CRAZY. What is this, Montreal again? Whatever stability credibility I gained by living at 381 Lansdowne for two whole years is now shot! The important thing is that I’m hoping to be settled in this new place for awhile. I have a roommate again – none other than Kat Burns – which means some changes for me but it’s going to be great! Next month I’ll be back in school, and since I’m going to be living off of savings and OSAP I want to be as self-sufficient as possible. Therefore, while I am terribly behind (too many vacations in July! Sigh, woe is me!) the canning and preserving marathon month starts now. I’m looking forward to building a pantry of preserves that can help me last through the winter months. That, in addition to making more and more things from scratch (granola, bread, CHEESE, yogurt…) will hopefully mean that Kat and I can live on the cheap, and still on the delicious! Once tomatoes are in full swing I’ll be going crazy standing over my big pot of boiling water filling jars forever, but for now – it’s PICKLES.
Last year I made my first foray into pickling, which was also one of my first adventures in canning beyond jam. Don’t get me wrong, jam is awesome, but really I don’t eat that much and I’ve been looking for more challenging projects. I love dill pickles, and the ones I made last year turned out pretty great, so I opted to make a similar batch again this year, with some slight changes.
First of all, this year I made a bulk order of pickling cukes from my CSA. I picked them up yesterday – all 12lbs. While I would have been happy to turn them all into dill pickles, I thought maybe I’d do half that and half something else. Today I made the pickles, and I’ll still accept your suggestions as to what I should do with the second half of those cukes! Last year when making my dills, I used a club house pickling spice mix. This year I opted to make my own – because really, why wouldn’t you? After a trip to my new neighbourhood bulk store for spices, I crafted a spice mix containing: coriander seeds, mustard seeds, whole allspice, ground ginger, red pepper flakes, whole cloves, cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, and dill seed. Let me tell you, this pickles are going to be ZESTY. I also opted to put a bit of sugar in with my brine because last year my pickles were just a touch too zippy – likely because I used the 7% pickling vinegar rather than the regular 5% stuff, which I did again this year. Into each jar I put a dill head, a clove of garlic, and a dried chile. Dried chile! I’m excited about this addition – I have no idea how spicy these pickles are going to be, but I think they will be pretty hot and I’m psyched.
I packed in my cukes – I actually had washed and prepped too many, so hopefully they will keep for a few days in the fridge until I make whatever’s next. (As for prepping, I cut the nub off of each end and let them sit in some ice water for awhile – this supposedly helps them to stay crispy – and I like a crispy pickle). Boiled my brine and poured it over, and processed my jars for 10 minutes! They look pretty good. The worst thing about making pickles is the waiting – they’re best if you wait a couple months before eating them. TORTURE. I’ve been thinking of trying to make a dill relish with the rest of the cukes, because yesterday I was inspired by the internet to try my hand at making ketchup, mustard, and relish this year for gifts. I just simply don’t think there is anything cuter sounding than that! I’m a dill relish, not a sweet relish kinda gal, so that’s my plan for now, but I’m also open to other pickle suggestions! I can always get more cukes for relish! Tell me your pickle ideas!!!
P.S. Here lies the requisit apology for taking so long to update, accompanied by the requisite photo of my new, terrific kitchen! Still unpacking but this apartment is really coming together, and I love this kitchen!