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I enjoy pickling and making jams,jellies,salsas, etc.
Is there any interest in sharing experiences, recipes and cookbooks?

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  1. I just purchased Food in a Jars
    by Marisa Mc Clellan
    I am looking forward to preparing the recipes.
    Most books have recipes for large amounts and I need to adjust them for small batches

    1 Reply
    1. re: jpr54_1

      We had a bumper crop of Kentucky green beans this year and I just pickled and put up. Also, if I buy fruit and it isn't getting eaten, it's easy -- for me it's therapy -- to take the time to make a jam: I had cherries and some concord grapes that were edging on turning, so I simmered them together, mashed through a sieve and then again through cheesecloth with pectin and sugar. It only made a jar and a half so I didn't process them, just put em in fridge. I love canning -- wish my garden was larger and more abundant this year, but because I don't use pesticides, I deal with a lot of demise. (My tomatoes sucked this year, too). Don't forget to try making PICALLILY with your greenies at the end of summer.

    2. I just got Tart and Sweet and Paul Virant's Preservation Kitchen. I have not pickled anything but quail eggs. I do hundreds of jars of jam each year for gifts, so I look for simple recipes that I can make quickly in bulk. I get bored of making the same jams, so I also look for variety.

      So far, Chef Virant's Rhubarb Beer jam has not made it to my list. I just don't know how I would use it.

      3 Replies
      1. re: chrishel

        I also do a lot of canning which I use as gifts. In addition to you figuring out to use something like Rhubarb Beer Jam you have to consider your audience. I felt bad for my young nephew when my sister was out of maple syrup and she put my hot and spicy banana ketchup on his pancakes. (http://notdabblinginnormal.wordpress....)

        1. re: AGM_Cape_Cod

          Oh, no! :) My son would love that. His favorite is Cowboy Candy (Candied Jalapenos). He likes to eat one, run around the house with his tongue hanging out, then come back for more.

          I agree about the audience. The majority of our gifts go to people who want strawberry jam or grape jam. That's it. BORING! I don't want to make 100 jars of strawberry jam. I want to make strawberry pinot noir, strawberry balsamic, strawberry raspberry, strawberry mint, strawberry margarita...

          1. re: chrishel

            Love cowboy candy! It is on my to do list this summer!

      2. WOuld go to Ball web site for the do's & don't. Tomatoes are one of the simplest things to can. Already fairly high in acid, so not a lot of concerns with finished product. Pickles are also easy... I like bread & butter. Other veggies work well in the same brine... cauliflower or green beans (after a brief blanch).

        1 Reply
        1. re: kseiverd

          The current thinking is that with the new varieties of tomatoes, the acid levels are not guaranteed so ReaLemon bottled lemon juice or vinegar needs to be added to ensure the proper acidity.

          Check the labels on bottled lemon juice as well if you are using it to adjust acidity. So far, I've found only ReaLemon lists and controls their acidity level. I get bottled lemon juice from Costco (Volcano) and it is not acidity controlled. I contacted the manufacturer to confirm this. I use it for jams and jellies but I wouldn't use it for things where the acidity is questionable for food safety.

        2. For pickling I love the pickl-it check out their website http://www.pickl-it.com/

          My husband raved about the red sauerkraut I made in the pickl-it
          As for canning, I use some of my own recipes but follow the times in the Ball canning book. I mostly can, jams, dried beans, stock and tomatoes.

          My next project is sweet hot pickles.

          5 Replies
          1. re: rasputina

            As a result of your recommendation I ordered and received today six in total of jars. I am looking at these bail wires recalling how dishwashing really makes bail wires rough. I also am of the opinion that one should not put rubber into a dishwasher; i.e., the bands that fit around the lid, and the red rubber grommet inserted into the glass.

            How do you sterilize all these parts, or do you just wash and rinse in very hot water.

            1. re: Rella

              Yea! I'm glad your order came already! I just wash in hot soapy water. Here is the link to the safety and handling page on their site


              If you want to put the jars in the dishwasher there are instructions with pictures on how to remove the metal bail.

              1. re: rasputina

                I must digest everything on that site. I'm such a scare-ty cat when it comes to something new, but spouse helps so much.

                Thanks for showing me where the bail removal is located. I've ruined some nice bail-wire jars in the past.

                I do like the fact that these jars are made in Italy.

                1. re: rasputina

                  I should ask specifically: do you wash your jars with the bail wire attached in hot soapy water? That is what I think I'd like to do. Thanks.

                  1. re: Rella

                    Yes, I hand wash with the bail attached. I just remove the gasket and wash it separately.

            2. The early cherries are in season here. These tend to be a bit tarter than the late-summer cherries, and I think they make better jam.

              I follow a no-recipe recipe from David Lebovitz: http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2005/06/... .

              1. my next book that arrived this am is Pickled Pantry by Andrea Chesman

                i just had a few minutes too glance at book and i can find many that i will


                1. Last summer my new favorite canning book was "Tart & Sweet: 101 Canning and Pickling Recipes for the Modern Kitchen" by Kelly Geary and Jessica Knadler. Lots of terrific ideas in there. One of my all time favorites and which I'll make again this year is the Carrot Habanero Hot Sauce. Do check it out - it's a great book.

                  1. I haven't canned in some years, but canned salsa every summer. I always sterilized my jars, bands & lids in the dishwasher and never had any problems.

                    I now make refrigerator pickles, which doesn't involve the canning process really.....

                    One thing I always did to guarantee a seal is to turn the jars over while they cooled. Once they are turned back over they seal instantly. This seems to work for jars that don't "pop" to seal right away.

                      1. re: Uncle Bob

                        Second that. Also like PickYourOwn.com

                      2. I find a very good reference is in church cookbooks, regional cookbooks, as they are often recipes handed down from one generation to the next. I like to do pickled beets, always so easy.

                        1. Has anyone purchased "Wild Fermentations" by Katz, and found it of value in pickling, not canning.

                          16 Replies
                          1. re: Rella

                            I own it. I also have Sandy Fallon's Nurishing Traditions. I've tried recipes out of both and honestly, I prefer the recipes and brining guidelines from the pickl-it site. Kathleen has spent a lot of time learning the science behind lactic acid fermentation. It's possible that the problem with the recipes I tried from Katz and Fallon failed as a result of the method and not so much the recipe. I don't know. From my conversations elsewhere on the internet on this topic, I'm not the only one to have issues with their recipes.

                            Sandy Fallon for instance often recommends using whey as a "starter" culture in her ferments. But I think that is because their method of open containers without an airlock makes it impossible to create a true anaerobic environment like the pickl-it does. The stuff I made following her recipe just came out very salty tasting.

                            1. re: rasputina

                              Thanks, Rasputina. I found this book in DH's bookcase. A Borders' going-out-of-business book.

                              DH says, "Thanks, that's good to know." I really dislike complications when going into a new endeavor, so your help is appreciated. I'll be going to her site now. I wish she would write a book, as well. Maybe no need for me, though, at this point.

                              1. re: Rella

                                Kathleen is writing a book. I'm not sure when it will be out though. I read a post on the blog over there ( or was it the recipe section I can't remember) saying she thought it would be out "early summer" but it's early summer now and I haven't seen an announcement with a release date.

                                1. re: rasputina

                                  She did mention on the phone with us (maybe a half-hour + conversation) about a book. I felt that it was not in the 'very near' future, but she said she was writing one.

                                2. re: Rella

                                  We should start a separate thread for lactic acid fermentation since it is so different from modern pickling with vinegar and canning.

                                  1. re: rasputina

                                    Have you any experience with Katz's new book, The Art of Fermentation? I currently have it in my Amazon shopping cart. I'm looking for both "how to" and background/science.

                                    1. re: nofunlatte

                                      Thanks for mentioning this book @

                                      There are 16 reviews that look like they would give you a lot of information as to whether it is a book for you. In fact, I am really impressed with the reviews' information.

                                      However, I know you asked rasputina, and I don't know a darned thang :-))
                                      Good luck.

                                      1. re: nofunlatte

                                        No I don't have his new one. After the last one I wasn't willing to spend the money on it.

                                        1. re: nofunlatte

                                          I purchased this book and am very happy with it. There are recipes in it, but it isn't really a recipe book. He goes into the processes in much more detail than in Wild Fermentation. The photos and illustrations are quite good. I think it is an excellent reference if you are interested in fermentation.

                                          I did hear the author speak recently and he noted that he has continued learning and trying new things since Wild Fermentation was written and has included the new information in The Art of Fermentation.

                                        2. re: rasputina

                                          I'm wondering if 'we have a party, will anyone come" ? But how would one know if there wasn't an invitation in the first place. Do you think there will be people who will respond? Doesn't matter, I guess.

                                          I would hope that Kathleen (Pickl-It) would notice. I wonder how much business she has - I haven't been to her site to see if people ask/answer questions there.

                                          1. re: Rella

                                            She has a community page and she does post on it answering peoples questions when she has time. Other people that use the pickl-it also post answering questions.


                                            1. re: rasputina

                                              Thanks. I got signed up on the community and found her brine ratio page.

                                              And I ordered the salt today at Amazon. Even though I probably have enough at home. I'm in business! I'll probably be keeping her 'community' Questions and Answers busy.

                                              I think my cucumbers have taken a turn for the worse though. I bought them thinking that the jar would ship soonest, but there was some days' delay due to FedEX heat problems and their shipments. (Here in Shenandoah Valley, VA, it was 105.5 at our house today.)

                                              1. re: rasputina

                                                Are these gadgets really necessary to making good pickled/fermented things?

                                                I am a complete beginner at pickling & have discovered fermentation - sounds so easy, but being a minimalist, I just wonder if these things you put on top of jars will provide better results.

                                                Someone please give me pros & cons on those Pickl-It thingies on top of jars. Jeez, I have been purchasing glass jars for ages to use for canning, fermenting, etc. & now some of those gadgets require their own type of jars.

                                                I need help or direction or something to get me started on making my own goodies.

                                                Thanks in advance.

                                                1. re: cstout

                                                  The airlock isn't used for canning. It's used to create an anaerobic environment for lactic acid fermentation. If you are just doing vinegar pickling and not lactic acid fermentation then you don't need an airlock.

                                                  1. re: rasputina

                                                    Well, I guess I do need the airlock since I am wanting to try my luck at fermenting. Thanks.

                                                  2. re: cstout

                                                    I have not used the Pickl-it system but many seem happy with it.

                                                    I have fermented with jars, crocks and the harsch crock with good results.

                                                    Fermentation has been a food preservation method used for 1000's of years with simple equipment. There are variables - it pays to keep good notes. Freshness of the material, type and amount of salt, chemicals in the water, all can have an effect.

                                                    Here is a thread on ferments if you are interested:

                                        1. I received my copy of Pickled Pantry by Andrea Chesman last week-

                                          today I made pg. 75
                                          kosher dill spears-

                                          i followed recipe and didn't make any changes

                                          the jar is in boiling water canner almost done-they need to stay on counter for 12 hours and then on shelf for 6 weeks b4 opening.

                                          does any one use pickle crisp granules-does it make a difference?

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: jpr54_1

                                            I have used the pickle crisp granules. I found they made for a crisper product, as promised.

                                            1. re: jpr54_1

                                              I've heard adding grape leaves helps retain crispness, haven't tried it though so not sure if it really works.

                                              1. re: geminigirl

                                                Just came across this post - sorry I am late getting here. Anyway, yes I do use grape leaves...just put a couple of small, young grape leaves on top of the cucumbers to have lovely crisp pickles. Have not tried grape leaves on other pickled things though. This hint came from an 85 year old man who always one first prize at the local fair for his pickles. He insisted on mustang grape leaves, but I just use whatever grows at my house.

                                            2. "Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It" by Karen Solomon has fun recipes. For sweet, I like "River Cottage Preserves." This excerpt has some great recipes: http://www.scribd.com/doc/82907943/Th...

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: ADS824

                                                Wow, I had no idea there are so many "River Cottage" books. Thanks for an enjoyable read. The "Jam It" book sounds great too - can't decide which I like better!

                                              2. http://onefootinthegarden.blogspot.co...

                                                this looks like a great class to take online and will answer mny questions

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: jpr54_1

                                                  Thanks for the link. I will have to wait onthe online class- my computer is so slow when I try to view any videos, just stops & starts & drives me crazy, but this link has been bookmarked.

                                                2. I put up 7 pints of apple slices in syrup today, but I have a lot of extra syrup left, it's so delicious I could drink it:). But I'm wondering if anyone has an other creative uses for it? Thanks

                                                  10 Replies
                                                  1. re: geminigirl

                                                    Do you use the apple slices later on in pies or just as a dessert or what? Did you dry the apple slices first? Sorry for the stupid questions, but I have never seen "homemade" apple slices in jars. Yes, I think I just crawled out from under a rock

                                                    1. re: cstout

                                                      Hi, not a stupid question at all! They are like canning peaches or pears, I core and peel and cut into slices / chunks and can in an extra,light syrup. This is only the 2 nd year I've done them but in the past I used them in an apple crisp. Im also thinking they will be good mixed into oatmeal which I eat a lot of in the winter. I also have a dehydrator which I just got last year, and dry a lot of apples. For those I just core and slice, I think the flavor is better with the peel on.

                                                      1. re: geminigirl

                                                        What is the brand of your dehydrator? Have you dried other fruits/veggies in there?

                                                        Yes, canned apples sounds like it would be delicious in cooked oatmeal - add a little syrup in there too. I love to add dried snipped apples to oatmeal while it is cooking, but those little packages of dried apples are quite expensive, so I am leaning toward a dehydrator, just hope I find a lot of uses for it.

                                                        I once bought a package of "mixed dried fruit" - it turned out to be little cubes of garish colored cubes not even resembling fruit, not to mention the artificial taste.

                                                        Do you folks think dehydrating fruits & veggies really save money or is it just wise to buy "in season" & eat fresh???

                                                        1. re: cstout

                                                          Hi, I have an Excalibur that I really like, forget the model at the moment but it has about 10 drying trays. I have attached a couple of posts with some good info. I like buying local in season when I can and preserving/ freezing/ drying when I can. I like knowing where it came from and what's in it. I find price wise the dried fruit is worth it, I can pick and purchase my peaches and apples for $1.00/ lb. not sure what the electricity cost is. I also like doing tomatoes, and those I grow in the garden.



                                                            1. re: geminigirl

                                                              geminigirl & Duchess & everyone else:

                                                              Dehydrating links - have spent the last 2 hours reading the links you posted plus a bunch more. I am convinced I need an Excalibur brand or a Faberware convection oven w/stainless steel mesh dehydrator trays. Need to do more reading about the Faberware oven before I make up my mind. I like the idea of it being an oven plus a dehydrator.

                                                              Now I need a good book on dehydrating! Anyway, thanks so much for all the info.

                                                              There is just something about "putting foods by" that calls to my soul, such a wonderful art that nourishes much more than the body. I am sure you folks on this thread know exactly what I am referring to.

                                                              Anyway, I am so thankful & blessed to have been in conversations with you all & peeked in your pantries & shared the bountiful aroma of your canning/preserving/drying rituals. Life is good.

                                                              1. re: cstout

                                                                Excalibur sells a great dehydrating book called Preserve it Naturally.

                                                                1. re: cstout

                                                                  Cstout, I always tell people to really think before buying any appliance ("toy" lol), but *especially* a dehydrator. Make sure that you like dehydrated foods and that you have uses for them.

                                                                  For example, lots of folks think they'll make banana chips at home. But the ones they've had from stores are often fried and/or coated with honey/sugars; what comes out of the home dehydrator is not a crunchy chip but more leathery and milder flavored. Fruits in commercial trail mixes are often glaceed and sugared, and home versions may disappoint.

                                                                  My favorite dehydrating book: Mary Bell's Complete Dehydrator Cookbook. :)

                                                                  1. re: DuchessNukem

                                                                    Think before buying any appliance - sadly I have learned this lesson the hard way. I was once a compulsive cookbook buyer, saw something on the cooking shows & just had to have it, or heard someone talking about the latest kitchen gadget & on & on. After lots of money wasted & now being on a fixed income, I think things through a great deal more. Duchess, I really do appreciate the
                                                                    reminder though. There are times when temptation is really calling.

                                                                    As far as color/texture or whatever, I have also learned "Flavor Rules". I am going to see if my library has the Mary Bell's dehydrator book.

                                                                    Thanks for the very wise advice.

                                                                  2. re: cstout

                                                                    Glad to help, just passing along what I've learned on here:)

                                                        2. I just made some pickled beets. I purchased the beets at a farmer's market, the beets were shaped liked sweet potatoes and they were easy to peel and slice and were uniform for cutting. For my canning inspiration I purchase regional cookbooks, church cookbooks, as I find many old recipes within. I can on a small level, the last time I made green chowchow I bought 3 bushels of tomatoes and was canning all weekend. I learnt my lesson, if alone, small batches.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: Ruthie789

                                                            Canning on a small level is the only way I can do it since my kitchen is very small - just too overwhelming to try more than a few jars at a time.

                                                            I try to "make" all my Christmas gifts & am always eager to try a different canning/preserving recipe to put in a gift basket for someone. Try to strive for a sweet/savory combination.

                                                            Yes, the church & community cookbooks can have some gems in there, but unfortunately a lot of times the canning/preserving recipes are for large quantities & that always scares me to scale down, but so far I have been lucky.

                                                            Hope you enjoy the pickled beets - one of my favorite veggies!

                                                          2. Tried a new recipie this weekend, roasted red pepper spread from Ball. Basically a ton of roasted red peppers, tomatoes, garlic, onions and basil. I think it will be a nice addition to the pantry! I love seeing the shelves fill up.....

                                                            7 Replies
                                                            1. re: geminigirl

                                                              Filling the pantry shelves - yes prettiest sight I can think of!

                                                              1. re: geminigirl

                                                                A roasted red pepper spread?!

                                                                Share the recipe, Gemini! SHARE!!

                                                                1. re: Midknight

                                                                  DO you have the Ball canning book? If so it's in there, or when I get home I can get it if you need. It's very easy and tasty, but took a ton of peppers! I bought a bushel very cheap so it was worth the work!

                                                                  1. re: geminigirl

                                                                    Nope, no canning book for me. Never even heard of it. But I'm loving roasted red pepper, so it's gotta be good. For a while, I was looking for a roasted red pepper jam, but no luck. I was only able to find "regular, boring" red pepper jam. :)

                                                                      1. re: nami54

                                                                        Yes, that's the one, thanks for posting the link! I am looking forward to opening this on a snowy day this winter....

                                                                2. re: geminigirl

                                                                  Oh, I canned this last year--wonderful! I still have two jars left.

                                                                  No time this year for this one--maybe next year again (not enough time for canning much in the next few weeks and by then the season will be over).

                                                                3. Check this link out - lots of places to browse around for canning, etc. Also, look at those cupcake liners as toppings for your jars of goodies, an absolute neat idea!!!


                                                                  1. I just canned 3 pints of savory tomato jam, and I'm so happy with it. It's a lovely preserve, and fun to riff on. Anyone who loves sharp cheddar should REALLY put some up. There are great recipes available on Food52 and Food in Jars. I tend to do about 3lbs tomatoes, 1 cup plus acid, 1.5 cups sugar of some kind, some shallot and garlic (no more than half a cup), and seasonings. I like cinnamon/clove/aleppo/saffron especially, and my last few batches have featured some nice bourbon. Smoky Scotch for the smoked paprika jars. Anyhow, it's really good, versatile stuff.

                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Vetter

                                                                      I saw both recipes and I think I will try to make the preserve-

                                                                      what kind of tomatoes did u use?

                                                                      1. re: jpr54_1

                                                                        Out of curiousity, I've done different types of fruit in each batch. Some batches with just big heirloom Brandywines and some batches with just heirloom plums and some batches just dry farmed beefsteak types. Keep in mind I'm chopping and leaving skin and seeds in. They've all worked well - the difference seems to just be in the texture and pectin content. I honestly think I like the Brandywine-only batches the best because they're retaining a bit of the chopped texture and keeping away from "sauce" - but that's just a visual, and really, the difference is subtle. I'm just going to keep using the nicest fruit I can find.

                                                                        The dry farmed tomato skins? Had to pick them out. That's fruit to skin...

                                                                      2. re: Vetter

                                                                        Oh.My.Gosh. I ran into a packet of freezer pectin in a cupboard and I recalled your post, vetter. Now I have 2 small batches of fabulous tomato jams chilling in the fridge: one with red cherry toms/garlic/onion/coriander based on your description, another with yellow cherry toms/paprika/cayenne based on FoodInJar's recipe (with 5 cc of VERY smoky scotch added).

                                                                        Always rolled my eyes at the idea of tomato jam -- now I'm a convert! :)

                                                                        1. re: DuchessNukem

                                                                          I saw/made a recipe for it once that said "would make even old shoe leather taste good". I'm a huge fan. Bonus points for spicy.

                                                                      3. I've been intrigued with 9 day pickles since I came across this link:
                                                                        I spotted some nice cucumbers last week and decided to give the recipe a try! I'm on day three. Tomorrow is the day to add the pickling spice, so I'm trying to decide how much to use.

                                                                        I've never tried this style pickle plus my two-legged household members numbers one so I've adjusted the quantities for half a gallon. If anyone has advise go at it!

                                                                        I'm unsure how long you need to wait to eat these after the addition of sugar on day 9.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: meatn3

                                                                          Oh my - these are so good! Sweet, spicy, crisp nuggets full of flavor. I need to make lots more for holiday gift giving. I'm really glad I finally tried this type of pickle.

                                                                          For any one contemplating it, the amount of time on the active days was very little. Perhaps 15 - 20 minutes max.

                                                                          Half a gallon made just a little over 3 pints.

                                                                        2. Made the following recipe the other day & was ready to eat after the second day. Absolutely easy & so crisp. I had grape leaves & think they really helped with the crispness. Even better when I put them in fridge to cool.
                                                                          They had the taste of Claussen pickles.
                                                                          Think I will add a few peppercorns next time.

                                                                          Garlic-Dill Cucumber Pickles
                                                                          4 - 5 pickling cucumbers
                                                                          2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
                                                                          2 tablespoons fresh dill, snipped (used dill seed since no fresh dill)
                                                                          1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
                                                                          1 tablespoon sea salt (used Real Salt brand)
                                                                          4 tablespoons whey (if not available, use an additional 1 tablespoon salt) (I used extra salt,no whey)
                                                                          1-2 clean grape or oak leaves
                                                                          1 cup filtered water
                                                                          Wash cucumbers well and place in a quart-sized wide mouth jar.
                                                                          Combine remaining ingredients and pour over cucumbers, adding more water if necessary to cover the cucumbers. The top of the liquid should be at least 1 inch below the top of the jar.
                                                                          Cover tightly and keep and keep at room temperature for about 3 days before transferring to cold storage.

                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                          1. re: cstout

                                                                            cstout, were the grape leaves fresh, or the jarred kind? I have jarred in the pantry, but have access to fresh at the county Ag Center.
                                                                            What is the whey for? I've never heard of that in pickles!

                                                                            1. re: jmcarthur8

                                                                              I used fresh grape leaves. I think they were Mustang grape leaves.

                                                                              I did not use whey, it is used in place of salt for preserving. I am new to fermented pickles, but my understanding of fermented foods is that you can use whey, which is called lacto fermentation or you can use canning salt or natural sea salt instead of whey. If the recipe calls for whey, just double the amount of salt specified. Anyone please correct me if I have stated this wrong. Do not use iodized salt in any instance of canning or fermenting.

                                                                              Using salt is the most natural & oldest form of fermentation from all the articles I have read. Don't know much about whey at this point. Maybe some other folks will chime in on this subject.

                                                                            2. re: cstout

                                                                              These sound good and I'm always looking for more ways to use whey!
                                                                              I think my house temperature has caused some fermentation problems - about what temperature was room temp. for you?

                                                                            3. Hubby pulled the last of the tomato plants from the garden, so today I canned 6 pints of sweet/hot green tomatoes.
                                                                              The recipe was from BHG's You Can Can book. It had onions, bell pepper and jalapeno (and sugar) in it, plus the pickling spices. The vinegar solution smelled heavenly while it was boiling, and tasted great. I'm excited to try these, as we've made dilled green tomatoes in the past (a little ho-hum), but I thought this sweet/sour recipe sounded interesting.

                                                                              1. Does anyone know if you can make fermented pickles using those cucumbers that are wrapped in plastic wrap in the stores? They are the seedless kind. The name of them escapes me at this time.

                                                                                I understand that you can't use regular cucumbers from the store because they are waxed or coated with something, so was thinking to use those long cukes during the winter time to satisfy a random urge to make a jar of fermented pickles.

                                                                                Thanks in advance for answering this question.

                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                1. re: cstout

                                                                                  There are three classifications of cucumbers: slicing, burpless and pickling. English and Persian cucumbers fall in the burpless category. Mature burpless aren't recommended for fermented pickles for two reasons. The first is that the skin can be tough and hinder brine penetration. Secondly there is a growth enzyme* which can cause softening of the pickle. Immature burpless work fine for quick pickles.

                                                                                  Slicing pickles, the waxed ones, can become hollow during fermentation so they aren't a good choice.

                                                                                  That said, I have peeled the wax, cut and seeded slicing cucumbers and used for fermented pickles. I've also used burpless varieties for small batches which would be consumed within a month. While they lacked the crispness of pickling cukes they were fine. One time I had pickles from slicing cucumbers turn out pithy.

                                                                                  *All cucumber have this, which is why you remove the blossom end when prepping for pickles, but it is stronger in burpless varieties.

                                                                                  1. re: meatn3

                                                                                    Great cucumber tutorial meatn3! I was planning on making a few jars right before Christmas to hand out as gifts, but I sure don't want to give hollow, pithy & other boo boos. Looks like I better get to canning jams or jellies for those presents.

                                                                                    Thanks for the information - I am a much wiser cucumber pickler, with your help.

                                                                                    1. re: cstout

                                                                                      You can also sub zucchini for cukes quite often, though... Wonder if that is a workable substitute? I've had really nice zuke bread and butter pickles.

                                                                                    2. re: meatn3

                                                                                      Ahhhh. Now I can admit in public, that I've peeled waxed cukes and fermented/pickled them. And guess what ? -- they were acceptably tasty when I needed them. Thanks m-n-3!

                                                                                      1. re: DuchessNukem

                                                                                        Using waxed cukes - I could certainly be convinced I need to try at least a batch of those babies for fermented pickles.

                                                                                        My plan is to run the fork tines up & down the cuke just so I would have some green there & then slice them into thick slices & proceed with the fermented pickle recipe.

                                                                                        Plus, do you think wiping the cukes with a mild vinegar solution would remove some of the waxed coating or would this somehow prohibit the fermenting process? Just a thought.

                                                                                  2. Does anyone have experience using Weck jars? After coveting them for years, I finally took the plunge and bought a few boxes. They are lovely with a capital L, but kind of futzy to use and it seems like I am getting way more that fail to seal than I ever have with the metal lid and ring Ball kind. Any tricks?
                                                                                    Also, if you've used these for gifting jarred things, do you include the metal clips or leave them off?

                                                                                    I need to upgrade to a stainless steel canning rack, and I've looked at a couple on Amazon. Any preferences there?

                                                                                    Some highlights from my canning season this year have been peach-ginger jam and, at long last, I managed to plant enough cucumber vines for a sufficient yield of wee cukes to be able to do cornichon. Also lots and lots of spicy dilly beans.
                                                                                    I've also got a couple of jars of hard-won cocktail onions put up courtesy of my walking onion/Egyptian onion plants. If you are unfamiliar, these are a top bulbing, perennial onion that is quite prolific and useful, but peeling a few jars' worth of those tiny bulbs takes ages!

                                                                                    15 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: splatgirl

                                                                                      I use weck for canning, not exclusively though. I haven't had any problems with sealing. It sounds like you aren't putting the clips on correctly. I'm not sure if I can adequately explain it in text though. I did find this blog post interesting about her past issues with pooring sealing of weck jars and she has picks of the correct way the clips should be put on. Maybe her pictures will help?


                                                                                      1. re: rasputina

                                                                                        Thank you! (added bonus: concealed carry holsters for women!) I am fairly certain I'm applying the clips properly, yet that post almost suggests leaving them not fully engaged....hmmm. So far I have only done water bath canning with these jars but it's good to know they need more clips in the pressure canner. I think I may not be leaving enough head space. Or too much. The fact that the lids kind of sit down below the lip of the jar is screwing me up. Does, say, 1/4" headspace mean from the very top of the jar, or 1/4" below where the bottom of the lid would sit, do you think?
                                                                                        I also find it difficult to get the gaskets placed and everything seated on the jar properly without touching the presumably sterile surfaces.
                                                                                        Serves me right for being vain about canned stuff :)

                                                                                        1. re: splatgirl

                                                                                          Good question about measuring where the headspace starts. Last time I canned with my weck jars it was in the pressure canner and I was home canning dried beans. I think it was due to being pressure canned but I ended up with a good 1/2 inch of headspace when I took them out of the canner. I put the rings on the lid before I put the lid on the jar, but it does take some practice getting getting it all maneuvered.

                                                                                          Did you get the canning booklet from weck when they shipped your jars?

                                                                                          1. re: rasputina

                                                                                            No! I did not get a booklet, but I also did not order them directly from Weck. Boo! Can you tell if it's it the same info as what is listed under "canning notes" on their website?
                                                                                            Re-reading that, it seems like I might be erring on the side of not enough headspace.
                                                                                            Part of the problem is I have had failures both immediately upon removal from the canner, a day or two later, and more than a few days later. Having some that failed much later makes me mistrust them all. With Ball jars I have never had anything other than the initial failure to seal with processing. If they've sealed, they've always stayed sealed indefinitely.
                                                                                            I also don't like how the little gasket tabs have varying degrees of "point down". Do the ones that point VERY down have a stronger seal than those that are not as downward facing, do you think?
                                                                                            Thanks so much for the feedback. I only know old school serious canners and they all poo poo my vanity and lust for these jars. Likewise the Italian bail jars I covet.

                                                                                            I just filled the last of my wee Wecks with spiced grape butter made from the grapes that adorn on my patio. Quite a lot of effort there ~5lbs of de-stemmed grapes for five ~1/2 pints of stuff. Fingers crossed!

                                                                                            1. re: splatgirl

                                                                                              The Weck home canning guide is a 23 page booklet, and it has more info and a bunch of pictures on how to use the jars. I'm not sure how to get one, mine came free in my order.

                                                                                              I'm not sure if the degree of pointing down on the gasket tab reflects the strength of the suction or not.

                                                                                              I think that the most likely cause of seal failure is the clamp not being put on correctly. Are you seating the gasket on the lid before putting the lid on? Also make sure to push the clamps down just until they click and they need to be directly opposite each other if you are using 2. With pressure canning use 3 equally spaced.

                                                                                              It's possible lack of headspace could be a cause of failure but if the clamps are attached correctly, the jar can vent itself without unseating the gasket.

                                                                                              Are you leaving the clamps on until the jars a completely cool and then removing them and checking the seals? I tend to think that any seal failures happening after the first 24 hours are due to inadequate processing. A failed seal due to the gasket should show the first day.

                                                                                              1. re: rasputina

                                                                                                Is the gasket supposed to hold itself onto the lid unassisted? Perhaps this is my issue, as "seated on the lid" is not how I would describe it.

                                                                                                I've emailed Weck to request a copy of the booklet.

                                                                                                Thanks again for your willingness to assist! Just knowing there is an instructional pamphlet is extremely helpful. Hopefully they will give me a copy, and thumbs down to Williams-Sonoma for not providing one when I bought these jars.

                                                                                                1. re: splatgirl

                                                                                                  I wouldn't say the gasket is supposed to stay on the lid unassisted. If you are just holding the lid and gasket from the sides of the lid the gasket will flop around some and can come off.

                                                                                                  When they say seated on the lid, they mean have the lid upside down and seat the gasket all the way around and pushed down so it touches the jar lid, then flip it over and put the lid on the jar and clamp it on.

                                                                                                2. re: rasputina

                                                                                                  There is an online sale of Weck jars at Williams-Sonoma this week

                                                                                                  1. re: jpr54_1

                                                                                                    Williams Sonoma is outrageously over priced on their Weck jars and they carry a very limited selection of sizes and shapes. I get mine from Glashaus.

                                                                                                    1. re: rasputina

                                                                                                      True that WS has has a limited selection. Once you factor in shipping from Glashaus they're the same price as WS. Assuming it's a brick and mortar purchase at WS, that is.

                                                                                                      ETA that WS sells a slightly different size jar than what is available from Weck directly, at least for the mold and mini-mold styles. The lids are the same size, however.

                                                                                                      I was not able to find the sale you mention, jpr. Link maybe?

                                                                                                      Thanks again, Rasputina, for your assistance. I had a reply to my pamphlet request this morning:
                                                                                                      "I am sorry that is an old canning guide however all of the information on how to use the jars and the history of WECK is on our web site. If you go to www.weckjars.com and click on canning notes it will explain how to use our jars in a water bath, pressure canner and how to freeze in them. How to use the jars in a pressure canner has been updated on our web page which is more current information then what was in the canning guide. The only thing that is not on the web site is a few jelly and jam recipes."

                                                                                        2. re: splatgirl

                                                                                          I realize this is an old thread but adding my comment for the benefit of those with topsetting onions..... Easiest way to peel the topset bulbils is to toss them in a pot of boiling water for a few seconds. The boil will soften up the outer layer and you can squeeze out the center of the bulbil. You do lose a bit of onion but it's a whole lot faster. Be careful not to boil them too long, or you will lose too much of the usable onion. (Same process also works for prepping pearl onions for stew.)

                                                                                          1. re: merkat

                                                                                            we r still here
                                                                                            post anytime u wish.

                                                                                          2. I purchased a box of the Tattler reuseable lids. Works out to about 72 cent each iirc. I've used a few with success. Hoping by this time next year to have used them for the 3rd or 4th time and have a better idea of if they are worthwhile.


                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: meatn3

                                                                                              please do report back here. I have been wondering about these for a couple of years, but it would be a pretty big investment for me to switch to them entirely. I'm also on the fence about the metal vs. plastic. I'm inclined to believe that BPA is only the first bad thing we've discovered to be leaching out of plastic, and that there's more nasty than just that, but is that better or worse than what we're getting from the metal lids...?

                                                                                              1. re: splatgirl

                                                                                                I doubt I would ever switch entirely. I gift a substantial amount of my canned goods. Some jars find their way back home, but many get waylaid elsewhere. I'll keep using metal for jars I know will be gifts.

                                                                                                So far I find them easy to use. Visually they are less attractive than metal. They are slightly translucent and depending on the light the inside of the lid can appear soiled. Sorry - can't find the words to explain it clearly. Not a big deal, but they don't have that tidy look which adds to the pleasure of seeing all your jars in a row!

                                                                                            2. Does any one have a recipe for red hot Christmas pickles using purchased jarred pickles? I have seen recipes where you actually start out canning from scratch, but I thought somewhere there was a recipe that produced red sliced pickle hunks that tasted like candied apples, but with a hot tone to them.

                                                                                              I have come across the ones that call for a lot of sugar, some spices & hot sauce, but I that is not the one I am referring to. Hope someone knows what I am talking about. Thanks.

                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: cstout

                                                                                                Istr a recipe which used "red hots", the little red cinnamon candy. Does that sound like what you are looking for? I have no idea where or when I came across it...

                                                                                                1. re: meatn3

                                                                                                  meatn3, yes, the red hots candy was an ingredient along with the jarred pickles from the store. Would love to have the recipe if you have it - thanks.

                                                                                              2. Here is one for the short term as it yields only 1 quart and must be refrigerated, but it is wonderful. HOT SWEET THAI RELISH: 1 1/2 cups golden raisins; 1 sweet red pepper; 1 cup canned tomatoes without juice; 8 cloves garlic; 1 1/2 tsps salt; 5 tablespoons white vinegar; a 12-oz jar of jam (plum or pineapple is good); 9 oz pineapple juice; 4 tablespoons brown sugar; 2 tsp hot chili flakes. Process raisins, tomatoes, pepper, salt, vinegar, chili flakes, and garlic in Cuisinart. Put in wide saucepan and add everything else. Simmer, stirring almost constantly, for 20 minutes until it looks clear and shiny. Pour into 1-quart Mason jar and refrigerate.

                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                1. re: Querencia

                                                                                                  Ooo. That sounds tasty. Don't laugh at me, I'm mentally scaling that down to 1/8 recipe since we're sometimes slow users of condiments lol. Will still be trying it out. :)