Sunday, July 05, 2009

Canning on the 4th of July

What could be more patriotic? Normally, we are out of town on the 4th, but we came back from camping early because the weather was so crummy. Despite the fact that our neighborhood's fireworks were so spectacular, I was in a mild funk yesterday. My mother always said if you were in a foul mood, hard work is the remedy, so I headed out to the Ann Arbor Farmer's Market yesterday morning just to see what I might preserve. The market wasn't very crowded, and I was thrilled to see that both tart cherries and blueberries were there, because I wanted to try to make some liqueuers with them. Pickles were on my mind, though. I had just gotten the book The Joy of Pickling by Linda Ziedrich.

Ever since I have seen McClure's Pickles for sale at the market and grocery store for a whopping $8 per jar (which might be okay for NYC but this is Michigan, and people are out of work) I've been preaching the gospel of of making pickles at home. Now, don't get me wrong - McClure's pickles are great pickles. I also love their logo and wish they'd make T shirts with it on them - I'd buy one. But pickles are pretty cheap to make - if I tried hard enough, I bet I could make them for 25 cents a quart - u pick cukes later in the season are practically free. But it's early in the season, so I paid $10 for about 8 lbs of pickling cukes (which is a lot of money for pickles). Dill heads were hard to come by at the market this week - I think it's because no one but me seems to make pickles anymore. I found one gentleman that had some and I bought all he had. I begged Duke Donahee to bring some dill next week for me. Meijer carries it later in the season if you are looking for it.

Doing a little internet reading, I have found that the NY McClure is also a disciple of the Joy of Pickling. I am determined to make a McClure like pickle - so I tried making a fresh pickle out of the JOP book. Normally, I make brined dill pickles, but the McClure pickle isn't that. Linda Ziedrich suggests that you add grape leaves to the jar for a crisper pickle - there isn't grape leaves in the McClure pickle (they are probably adding alum instead) but since I am blessed with lots of wild grape vines in my yard, I decided to do it. The pickles take a month to cure in the jar. I'll let you know how they turn out. They were ridiculously easy to make - and by my estimates, cost me about $2 per jar to make, even though I wasn't economizing.

Give the McClure pickles a try and see if you like them. Sometimes, they are for sale at the AAFM, and they also carry them at Busch's. They are very good pickles! And making pickles yesterday got me out of my funk. I'll let you know if I succeeded and share the recipe in August after I taste them.


Jen of A2eatwrite said...

I think, given my NYC background, that my taste buds are different from those who love McClure's. I really found them too sweet/sour, I like my pickles spicy/sour. For my money, the best jarred pickles are Bubbie's, which, sadly, aren't local, but they're the only ones I've loved. Now if you can get a recipe together that mimics those...

I still have to learn canning. I was otherwise occupied on the date of the Preserving Traditions class.

A friend of mine also learned to do the final step via using a dishwasher? It sounded interesting.

Mom said...

I've had Bubbie's before...they are a fermented dill pickle. Try my kosher dill recipe. A Detroit brand that is very similar is Topor's Dill pickle. They are very good.

There is no safe way to can anything in a dishwasher - I've heard of people doing it, but I am a safety concious canner and only follow safe ways to can things. It's not something I would do!

SlowRunner said...

I love McClure's pickles. I bought an overpriced jar at the Farmers Market and can't get enough. The texture is just right. I love them diced on a roast beef panini sandwich.

mlle noelle said...

Have any of you ever tried pickling cherries? When I first read your post and saw cherries, I thought maybe you were going ot pickle those. :) I guess it's something they eat in France, like as an accompaniment to a charcuterie platter.

I need to just set aside a weekend to do some canning/ pickling and plan it ahead so it's blocked off on my calendar. I really want to do some pickled banana peppers- anyone have a good recipe for those?

Jane said...

I too going to try my hand at pickles for the first time. I've been canning for a long time but have done the jams, jellies, topping and things like that. Now I'm wanting to try pickles. I got them today from the farmers market. Can't wait!

Pickled banana peppers sounds good if you find a recipe let us know.

Chris Jeffery said...

FYI they do sell their logo on tshirts. Check out their website: