I made my second batch of bread & butter pickles yesterday, as well, and despite doing my best to get a move on it was nigh nine o’clock by the time I got around cookin’n’cannin’ the cukes. This was my first attempt at canning, and because I’m super ace at planning ahead I didn’t realize that my canning rack wasn’t actually that compatible with my largest pot until it was go time.
I had one pot crammed with cukes’n’onions boiling away in a spice & vinegar stew, a saucepan with jar lids trying to be hot enough to sanitize but not activate the sealing bits and muck it all up, and a pot full of not-quite-boiling (do you know how long it takes to bring a huge amount of water to boil? I don’t.) water with a shitty canning rack and a coupla pint jars. Amidst all that I had to figure out if the pickles were cooked enough, fill the jars, close them, get them back in the now-boiling water, and let that go at it for 10 minutes. At this point we were well-past 9pm on a Sunday night and I had no idea what I was doing. Did I mention that my kitchen is the size of a postage stamp and has about as much counter space?
The postage stamp kitchen was a mess of dropping tools in hot hot water and splashing brine about and out-loud swearing and oh god please let this work but whatever I don’t really care just let it be over and then the filled jars were in the bath (which was belching boiling water all over creation no matter how much I bailed out). Ten minutes later they were out, cooling on the rack and one jar button wasn’t staying down which means it didn’t work but hey, 1/2 ain’t bad, right? I resigned myself to the half-failure and dreary business of washing up and even though I heard a tinny pop I didn’t want to check the jars. Was that the other, giving up the ghost and losing its seal? Or was it t’other, as its contents cooled, realizing that, no, t’was properly canned after all? I didn’t want to know the answer.
Finally, the kitchen was returned to a civilized state and I gingerly approached my pickles. Oh, such joy! Both buttons were down indicating a seal and by George I’d done it. Inexperience, crappy equipment and minuscule Brooklyn kitchen be damned, I canned the shit out of those pickles.
The tests of time and taste still remain, of course. But for now? Canning, I hath beaten you.
(I believe it would behoove me to purchase an actual canner, though. My shoddy set up is moderately usable but canners aren’t even that expensive and would make my life so much easier. Also, my canning kit is fine but I kind of want to buy this one because it fits my kitchen color scheme better. Because that’s important.)