Home canning has been a part of our family traditions for as long as I can remember. Each year, when the harvest was complete and preserved in our family cellar I loved to be the one to give the final count on the fruit of our labors – peaches, pears, applesauce, beets, green beans, strawberry jam, and….PICKLES! I loved the pickles.
One particular day I wandered down to the cellar. I looked around the room, it was loaded with perfect home canned fruit and vegetables right out of our family garden and orchard. But…I had my mind set on one thing. I carefully scanned the shelves – Ah ha I found what I was looking for — a bottle of dill pickles I had canned myself.
As the bottle came off the self, my mouth started to water. Those pickles looked so good, I could hardly wait to get the lid off the bottle.
I finally made it to the kitchen and popped off the lid – immediately the smell of those home canned pickles wafted through the room – I couldn’t wait any longer. Out came the biggest pickle and I sunk my teeth into it.
Surprise! My joy quickly turned to despair when my teeth squished into a soggy dill pickle – not even worth eating! Almost weeping I ran to mother. What bad thing had happened to my pickles?
With a twinkle in her eye and a half smile, she started quizzing me down: “How long did the cucumbers wait before you pickled them?” “What size were the cucumbers that you used?” “Did you get them right out of the hot water bath when it started to boil?” Etc.
After playing detective for a couple of minutes, she laughed and gave me these important keys:
3 Family Secrets for Crispy Home Canned Pickles:
1. Harvest your cucumbers early in the morning and pickle them within 24 hours. The quicker the better. If you start with fresh, crisp, firm cucumbers you will have a better pickling experience.
2. Don’t let the cucumbers get too big. Smaller cucumbers become better pickles.
3. When you process the bottles of pickles – make sure you DON’T over cook them. The less they are cooked, the more crisp and crunchy they will be.
Believe me, I learned a valuable lesson – one I never forgot! Next time I canned my dill pickles I followed these guidelines religiously. My dream came true – to bite down into a crispy, crunchy, mouth-watering home canned baby dill pickle
I wanted to share these family secrets with you so your pickling experience can be a successful and happy one. Good luck fellow pickle lovers!