Thursday, July 29, 2010

In a Pickle

A kind reader just pointed out that I haven't blogged ONCE in July and I better do it fast before I break my record of having blogged at least once a month since I started the Blog a few years ago!! OMG no wonder no one is reading anymore. What the heck have I been doing with my time?? I had to do a Mental Rewind to see where the last month has gone...

For one, I joined a Farm Co-op this year where you invest a sum of money before the growing season for the farmer to invest in seeds, and in exchange you get a load of produce each week. I've been up to my eyeballs in vegetables and creative ways to cook them. The good news is, my husband and I have both gone down a pant size since we started 8 weeks ago; the bad news is, I think I'm going to turn into a summer squash. Here's a photo of last week's bounty:

Another upside of being a Farm Shareholder is you get to buy in bulk at wholesale prices, so I got the bright idea that I should buy half a bushel of pickling cucumbers for my father-in-law to turn into his famous bread and butter pickles. I should mention that cooking is my favorite hobby after Junk-tiquing and I've always wanted to learn canning but for some reason the whole process intimidated the bejeezus out of me. Meanwhile I have this father-in-law that won what equates to a Lifetime Achievement Award for canning last year from the Marshfield Fair/Agricultural Hall. Seriously this award is so prestigious they don't give it out every year but just when they find someone WORTHY, and I think he was the 2nd person ever to win it.

So I ordered the aforementioned pickling cukes and he was happy to turn them into pickles for me, but I thought it would be nice to actually see how they were made which brings us to yesterday. "I'll just dash these cukes over to FIL and watch the process then get on with my day..." Yeah, RIGHT! We sliced up all these puppies and set them to soak in the sink with salt and ice:

At this point I figured they needed to rest for a while and asked how long, he said about 3 hours and just when I thought Perfect! Here's my out, I'll run along and let him finish them! He said "But you'd be surprised, by the time we finish everything else it will be time to preserve them." OOPS. I forgot you have to sterilize the jars, make the pickling brine, bring the water bath to boil... sure enough, by the time we got all that done it was time to can! 4 hours after I arrived, we were left with 16 quarts of pickles.

The funny thing is, when he first asked whether I wanted to do up quarts or pints, I was all "Oh definitely some pints, I'd like to give some away to friends & family..." When we were done, FIL mentioned that my brother and sister-in-law would probably like some. After all the Time and Sweat Equity involved (did I mention how HOT it was slaving over that stove?) My Response? #!$*@! THEM! They can make their OWN pickles.