In a DIY Pickle

Day Three of the Make it from Scratch challenge is here.  And what could be more old-school DIY in the kitchen than pickling and canning?  I don't know - but if you have suggestions I'd love to try that too.  Besides, I needed to do something with this crazy monster cucumber my husband brought home from a coworker's garden.
  Having made a tentative foray into the canning and pickling world last year with green cherry tomatoes, and being somewhat encouraged that I did not die of botulism afterwards, I thought I'd try it again this year.  So I sterilized my jars and lids in a boiling water bath.
The strainer insert for my stockpot is pretty useful for placing my jars in the pot and removing them again without dropping them - I really need to get a non-slip jar lifter if I decide to continue canning in any serious manner.

Then I put my spice mixture (dill seed, garlic and peppercorns) into the jars...
 ... crammed them full of cucumber spears...

... covered them with my brine, used a knife to wiggle out the bubbles, and placed the lids on.  I secured the rims finger-tight and carefully lowered them into the boiling water to process for 10 minutes.

The sealing part definitely worked (so far).  The only downside is that they need to sit for a few days before I actually open a jar and try them.  So I guess I'll have to post an update in a week or so.
I also tried a crazy recipe for guacamole mac and cheese, which definitely turned out well (except for the pictures).  That's going to have to be a post for another day.


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