You know what I absolutely love? Those ginormous pickles you can buy out of the barrel. The kind they have at the really authentic Jewish delicatessens. Mmmm…..

Unfortunately, I have this phobia about eating them in public. There’s just something a little weird about walking around chomping on a big ol’ pickle.

*Sigh* Too bad.

Luckily, Steve and I found out that our fantastic newfound Portland friends are pickle fanatics as well. On a recent blueberry picking expedition, a few of us spied a 25 lb. of lovely gherkins and knew that a pickle party simply must happen asap.

(I should clarify that Steve, in true responsible Eagle Scout fashion, managed to talk us down from a full 25 lb. bag to a mere 12 lbs. What a pickle party pooper!)

So we met and chopped, and sliced, and boiled things.

And we realized very quickly that 12 lbs. of pickles take up a lot of jars. And those jars required a much bigger pot than we owned. (But really, what twenty somethings actually own real canning equiptment?)

So we made do. And boiled two jars at a time.

And at the end of it all? Pickle success!!

Easy Dill Pickles

6 lbs. cucumbers

Lots of fresh dill (enough to fit a couple sprigs in each jar)

1 clove of garlic, sliced

2 1/4 cups white vinegar

1/2 cup pickling salt

1. Prepare your canning jars. (This typically means washing and sterilizing the cans and lids in boiling water).

2. In a large saucepan, bring the vinegar, salt, and 8 1/2 cups of water to a boil. Set aside

3. Place a layer of dill in the bottom of each jar. Top each with a slice of garlic. Then fill with sliced cucumbers, packing tightly all the way to the neck of the jar.

4. Once all the jars are filled, pour in the brine until it’s about 1/2 inch from the top.

5. Add the lids and rings, then can using your preferred method.

Enjoy! *Chomp*


Peach Vanilla Bean Jam

This weekend I picked and froze 36 cups of blueberries.

I have 3 lbs. of cucumbers that I plan on pickling.

I bought 9 lbs. of peaches which I froze and also turned into this lovely jam.

And I’m not done yet!

I can see Steve trying to conceal his horror at my increasingly insane urge to either pickle or preserve as many fruits or vegetables as I can get my hands on.

“Honey….you know the winter’s in Portland are fairly mild, right? And you know that we only live about a mile away from a grocery store?”

Me (with crazy eyes): “Yeah….but this is super fun! We wouldn’t ever have to shop again! It’s just like in the olden days…..ooooh look! More peaches!”

I can freely admit that I can be a little……intense…when I get absorbed in a project.

But lucky for you, (and us!), all that insanity paid off in some absolutely  WONDERFUL jam.

Peaches.Lemon.VanillaBean.Sugar. That’s it.

Super easy! If you already know how to can stuff. If not, well then…..it’s less easy. But still tasty!

I’m not going to talk about how to can stuff…..I will kindly refer you to YouTube for that nonsense.

Peach Vanilla Bean Jam

from Annie’s Eats

3 lbs. ripe peaches – pealed and cut up into chunks

3 1/2 cups sugar

1 vanilla bean

Juice of 1 lemon

1. In a large pot combine the peaches, sugar, and lemon. Slice the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape out the black seeds into the pot. Then go ahead and add the scraped pod as well.

2. Cook over medium head until the mixture starts to boil. Then reduce the heat and let it simmer until it turns a dark orange color and is slightly thickened. (I simmered mine for a little over an hour) Fish out the vanilla bean pods and discard.

3. If you are canning, pour into jars and can using your preferred method. If you aren’t, pour into containers and store in the refrigerator.

That’s it! Enjoy!