Pickles & the 4th of July

What do they have in common? Not much other than they hit my calendar at the same time. We have just enough cucumbers coming out of the garden that I’ve managed to make 9 pints of dill pickles. I’m not much of a sweet pickle fan so I stick to plain dills spears. Here is a recipe I found on dill pickle search and adapted a little.

14 wide-mouth pint jars, lids & rings
fresh dill, heads & several inches of stems shaken free of bugs
cucumbers, washed, scrubbed
1 garlic clove (or more)

Brine:

8 1/2 c. water
2 1/4 c. white vinegar
1/2 c. pickling salt

Get All of this Going Before Filling the Jars.

1. Wash 7 quart jars in hot, soapy water (or dishwasher), rinse and fill with hot water; set aside.
2. Fill canning kettle half-full with hottest tap water; set on burner over high heat.
3. In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil, drop in new lids, and let simmer.
4. In a large saucepan, bring water, vinegar and salt to boil; turn off the heat; set aside.
5. FILL JARS: place a layer of fresh dill and 1/4 tsp. dill seed at the bottom of each jar, along with minced garlic clove, then TIGHTLY load the cukes into the jar to the NECK of the jar (depending on size you may get two nice layers with a few small cukes in the top–)—squeeze cukes into the jar tightly–uniform size helps; add a little more dill seed at the top, too.
6. Once jars are loaded, pour in the brine leaving half-inch head space in each jar.
7. Add lid and ring to each jar, tightening evenly.
8. Place jars into canner with water JUST to the necks of the jars.
9. Bring water ALMOST to a boil (about 15 minutes–depending on how fast it heats up).
10. Remove jars, set on a dish towel on the kitchen counter, cover with another dish towel & let cool.

NOTES: When washing/scrubbing cukes, sort them into piles by size. This really helps make your jars look nicer, if you have uniform sizes, and makes for easier packing, too.

But, it so happens that I like pickled okra even better than pickled cukes. So, I picked up some okra up at the local produce store. Since I didn’t want to be too picky and pick out all the little okra, I cut up the larger ones and froze them to be added to soups this winter.

Pickled Okra 1.jpg

The smaller they are, the better they are. Once they get too big, the get tough. Also, if processed too long in the canning process, they get mushy.

Pickled Okra 2.jpg

Number 1 is too long and thick, Number 2 is small enough to fit into a pint but thick enough that it would be tough pickled. Number 3 is good but almost too long for a pint. Number 4 is perfect. Please excuse the pale hand. It’s the flash. And excuse the nails. I have trimmed them (a little) since then.

Then the rest of the ingredients. Next year I want to grow more dill.

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After washing the okra (or washing and slicing the cucumbers) put them in icy water until you’re ready to put them into jars. This is supposed to help them be a little crispier. Notice I said supposed to. I didn’t actually test it to see if I could tell a difference. And I wouldn’t want to open 2 jars at one time just to see if it worked.

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I used a whole clove of garlic, and since they weren’t sized the same, pulled out the handy chopper thingy

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and minced away.

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Place fresh dill in the jar, along with 1/4 tsp. dill seed.

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Fill the jars with okra (or cukes), stuffing them as tightly as possible.

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Pour the brine over okra, filling it to the neck of the jar.

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Remove the lids from the boiling water and close the ring tightly. The water in the cooker should come to the neck of the jars. I had it pretty hot but didn’t want to put warm jars into a boiling pot so I think it took about 15-20 minutes for the water in the kettle to come up to boiling.

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Remove them and place them on a towel then cover with a towel. Be careful not to hit them against other jars.

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So, the moral of the story is that if Marylou can do it, you can do it!!!

And the morning and the evening were the the 3rd day of July. And behold, Marylou was very tired and left her kitchen in half an uproar and went to bed.

The next day being July 4th, she arose not very early and did proceed to put fertilizer down on the grass, a grueling task under the baking 90+ sun. Around boiling peanuts and doing laundry she henceforth applied 3 bags of fertilizer, wisely choosing 3 and 4 for the level of distribution, hoping to not have a repeat of the results of the spring’s application: zebra stripes if there was ever a two-toned green zebra.

And then she proceeded to bake a cake for the evening cookout, and did iron even a half and one hours for a friend. She took herself, the cake, some ice cream, the boiled peanuts and a marinated steak over to Jeffs for the evening. And she proceeded to yawn which caused great turmoil with the other ladies, ’til they were nearly to all fall asleep (not).

She was delighted to be able to try out her digital camera on the fireworks display that were displayed in a nearby town.

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And the evening and the morning were the 4th day of July, and a grateful, tired Marylou dragged herself to bed, thankful for freedom that Christ brings & the joy of being with friends and family.

Amen.

14 thoughts on “Pickles & the 4th of July

  1. Tomorrow’s the 7th day of July, are you going to rest then:) I had to laugh, your too funny, love the post. I have never seen okra that I know of, for sure never tasted it, I’m a Yankee thru and thru I guess.

  2. The first time I ever had pickled okra was at your mom’s some years ago.  When we had scads of them growing in our boxed garden a couple of years ago, I got her recipe.  I haven’t made any since.  Your fireworks pictures turned out great!

  3. sweetheart– try not to get yourself in such a predicament as in working yourself to the bone and then having to go to parties– gracious– spread the joy a bit!!:)  LOVE hearing all about my neighbors!!:)

  4. You make me laugh.  I miss the okra from home.  No one up here seems to have heard of it.  I ordered some seed and we shall see if this Northern soil grows okra  ’cause this Georgia girl sure could eat some pickled okra about now.  About the pickles…..your recipe is close to mine; but, mine calls for the addition of 1/4 tsp of alum per qt. This also is to make a crunchier pickle.  We love them.  

  5. @singingrachel – You’ll have to ask Anita what she thought of them! 🙂 She and Blake were over last night and we nearly ate a whole pint! 🙂

    @dwiglomartin – Do you process yours longer than this? When I opened a jar last night they were still kind of crunchy. Not bad but not as soft as most I’ve had. You may have to start your plants inside and then move them outside. Alvina tried to grow them in Dryden and the season wasn’t long enough for them to actually bloom and yield. If you come up with some kind of green house thing I bet you could do it.

  6. Makes me want to try the pickled okra….never heard of it til on the 4th we were w/ friends & one mentioned that she pickles okra & how yummy they are!!  BTW-your fireworks shots are so pretty! (I can ‘almost’ hear the BOOM…)

  7. Would love to try your okra! I have rarely eaten it. I think the first time I ever had some is when Ben made me some slimy tomato/okra combo. Needless to say, I didn’t think it was that tasty. Since then I’ve had fried okra, which I really liked. And I think I want to try your pickled okra too! And oh, your kitchen color makes for some great photo backgrounds!

    And I could see the tippy tops of the fireworks pictures. 🙂 And what I saw looks great!!

  8. Lovely fireworks! We tried to get some from our house because the kids are in bed by the time fireworks starts. But it was too far away and they fizzled (pun intended, of course). Those okra pickles look scrumptious.

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