Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Pickle Project: Day 11- Sugar and Spice

Day 11 is the day that scared me from the beginning and I knew I'd have to do it without my mom's help because she left for Virginia yesterday.  Today the recipe called for me to make a syrup out of vinegar, sugar, and pickling spices and add it to the crock.  I don't know why this seemed like such a difficult step, but I suppose it was because this was the day that my sliced cucumbers would theoretically start to look and SMELL like real sweet pickles.  Or not.
Eight pints of sugar and pickling spices await the vinegar bath, Day 11, July 8, 2010.

My mom had brilliantly suggested that we measure out the sugar and pickling spices into a large food-safe container so I could just pour it into the vinegar when the time came.  It seemed kind of unnecessary to me when she suggested it, but today I was grateful to know that I had mom's help with this crucial step, even after she'd gone home.

Pickles in my sink, Day 11, July 8, 2010.
The next step was to pour 3 quarts of apple cider vinegar into a large stock pot and bring it to a boil on the stove.  While I waiting for the vinegar to come to a boil, I drained the pickles and wiped down the sides of the container as my mom had said I should.  I was surprised at how many pickles there were.  It didn't look like there were so many when they were at the bottom of a 5 gallon crock, but they really filled up my sink!  And I swear there are more than when I started.  Is this possible?

I let the vinegar simmer while I made dinner and when my husband got home, he said, "Hmmm... smells like pickles!"  I figured that was a good sign.

After dinner, I slowly poured the giant container of sugar and pickling spices into the pot, stirring it frequently.  I thought about how much of the sugar would actually be absorbed into the pickles and how much would stay in the pickle juice.  I also decided that this might be why my mom's pickle juice is the secret ingredient in both her cole slaw and her potato salad.  It's my secret ingredient for the best tuna salad in the world, if I do say so myself.

Vinegar, sugar, and pickling spices, Day 11, July 8, 2010.
I was relieved to see the smelly liquid look like the pickle juice I knew and loved.  It seems like The Pickle Project is going to be a success... as long as I don't become complacent and forget to re-boil the liquid gold and pour it back over the pickles in the next three days.

Once again I must thank my mother.  She's been calling me every day to check up on the process and remind me to pay attention to my pickles.  She also said she's starting hers soon and I think I'll give her a run for her money this year.  Let the pickle wars begin!
My almost pickles, Day 11, July 8, 2010.

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