When I was a kid, every fall my mom would make homemade sweet pickles. I am not one for sweet pickles very much but I did love to snack on these beauties. I always found them so unique, something you would not find at the grocery store but only in my childhood.
I was inspired by this GIANT canning package I got thanks to Loblaw’s Grown Close to Home program to figure out how to make my own preserves and jar my own food.
They included a canning kit which contained everything you could possibly need!!! Including a video by Bernardin to get me over my phobia of making preserves. You can watch it here. So I decided to make my mom’s pickles first to help ease me into pickling. She eats her pickles right away so no jarring at all, perfect, an easy first step.
I called my mom and asked her about the recipe. She said it was an easy formula. One to one to one. I said, “So like one cup of water, one cup of vinegar and one cup of salt?”
“Oh my GOD Suzie!!! NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
This is why it is good to ask all the details for so-called EASY recipes!
“One cup of water, one cup of vinegar and one cup of sugar.”
“So that is it Mom?”
“You also need a little salt, some garlic and fresh dill but the plant kind with the sprigs.”
Got it! I put one cup of water, natural vinegar (less harsh) and sugar on the stovetop with some coarse pickling salt. I brought it to a boil, then let it simmer for a few minutes.
I got these 1 liter Bernardin jars which are perfect for pickles (nothing else mind you!) and put a few springs from a dill branch in the bottom with some garlic.
I sliced some pickling cucumbers and stuffed the jar with as many as I could, probably around five or six cucumbers. I topped the jar with more garlic and dill.
I got the canning funnel and poured the hot brine into the jar of cucumbers. Now remember, these are not truly preserved pickles. They will last for a while in the fridge but they are not the kind you keep in your pantry for months. Food safety first! Now my mom eats these half an hour after she makes them. As soon as that vibrant green is gone, she goes for it.
I let them cool off and sit overnight. They taste just like my mom’s! Amazing! Normally recreating the flavours of childhood as an adult can be challenging but not when it comes to these pickles. They were just like I had as a kid! Sweet, tart and tasty.
The only problem is they got really limp. This could be because I did not place them in the fridge after they cooled. My friend Michelle mentioned that she heard if you add fresh summer savory it will prevent the lack-of-crunchiness. Bernardin has a product called Pickle Crisp I think I will try using it next time since fresh summer savory is not sold at my store.
That was my first step to making real preserves. Hey, I used a jar and a canning funnel didn’t I? Not to worry, the pickling, jam-making, jarring journey is far from over. More to come!