After making pickles last year with the Kirby pickles from AP, we decided that the best of both worlds would be to "simply" grow our own pickling cucumbers. Of course we were not alone in hoping rain would develop in a more generous fashion than we've seen this scorching summer, so the hose has been our friend. Still, they have been doing pretty well; we've picked the odd three or four, until this weekend when we finally gathered enough for a batch of sweet pickle chips.
|We have a grand total of three plants. An old porch rail is serving as the cucumber trellis.|
|It would be fun to have enough of these little guys to pick to make some of our own cornichons.|
|This one is almost the size we want.|
|And another. It's fun to see them hanging from the vine.|
|You've really got to dig through the vines to find the green treasure.|
So, we got together our eight pounds of cucumbers, and this morning we begin to make our first batch of pickles 2012.
|Rinsed in the colander.|
|Look pretty nice, don't they? And a thin skin makes them perfect for our needs.|
|Kevin's job was to slice them on the mandolin.|
|Salted and then iced, they went into the walk-in for a few hours.|
|Drained, ice removed...|
|...they go into a big rondeau.|
|We add the syrup and bring it back up to a boil before putting them into jars.|
We ended up bottling the chips during lunch service, because we missed an hour somehow, so there were no pictures taken of that hectic procedure. The finished product looks pretty good, and we're only just beginning! We hope to get enough cucumbers to make several batches of chips and maybe some chunks, plus at least one batch of Marty's Blue Ribbon Bread and Butter Pickles. Maybe we'll even be able to pick enough of those little baby cukes to try our hands at gherkins and cornichons!