While attending a recent family reunion, My husband fell in love with a store-bought "spicy bloody Mary pickle". Since I could not find them on store shelves in my small home town, there was only one answer....you must can your own! So I did.... and after a couple of salty failures, I think I have a tasty product, but more importantly, I have pleased my hard-working hubby with a delicious snack!
Step 1: From the Garden You Will Need:
Lots of rain in Missouri = Lots of garden goodies! We will use the cucumbers, dill and garlic from this bounty!
1. pickling cucumbers
Step 2: From the Pantry You Will Need:
1. your favorite store-bought bloody Mary mixer (or use your own if you can your own!)
2. white vinegar
3. canning salt
4. whole peppercorns
5. crush red pepper flakes
Step 3: Prepare Your Jars
1. in a large canning pot with rack, place clean jars and lids in boiling water to sterilize, making sure water covers your jars. I used pints for this batch and I was able to get about 7 and 1/2 pints from my cucumbers. To save time always have a few extra jars ready and a smaller jar for any that might not fit in the size you are canning. Small jars make a nice addition to your lunch box!
Step 4: Clean and Prep Cucumbers
Put cucumbers in a clean sink of water and wash gently with brush. Remove all dirt, debris, spots, stems and dry by laying out on clean paper towels. I don't cut any cucumbers at this point. I wait until I am putting the cucumbers in jars, this allows me to "design" them for a nicer fit.
Step 5: Brine Time
In a large heavy stock pot, combine 1.5 quart of bloody Mary mixer with 1 pint white vinegar.
Stirring occasionally, bring to a easy boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, turn off and cover with lid to keep warm.
Step 6: Peel and Slice Garlic
Peel and slice garlic. you will use about a teaspoon of sliced garlic per pint
Tip:Garlic should always be stored in a cool dry dark place. I ran across a great idea on the internet several years ago and I LOVE it. Store you garlic in a clean nylon hose, knotted after each garlic bulb is inserted. hang in a cool, dry place in your kitchen. As you need garlic, simply cut off the nylon just under the knot!
Tip:An easy way to peel garlic, is using a silicone garlic peeler. If you don't have one, try any thin silicone mat or silicone trivet you have on hand. Simply roll your garlic clove in it, while firmly pressing down and the peels come right off!
Step 7: Pack the Pickles
Using jar lifters or tongs, remove one jar at a time from the sterilization canner. Place one teaspoon of garlic slices and one nice young sprig of dill in jar. Pack cucumbers in as tight as you can without bruising or forcing the vegetable.
Tip: Roll your jar on its side as you begin to fill, this will allow you to pack a few more of those beauties into the bottom of the jar, then you can stand it up and work your puzzle magic! With a little effort you can have a beautiful jar of pickles that look like they were grown just to be a family in that jar!
Tip: I like small whole pickles, they have the best "crunch", but if you want more flavor and a little less crunch you can half or spear. The best trick to a crisp / crunchy pickle is pick and pickle quick! Picking your cucumber and pickling soon will result in the best pickle. If you are buying your pickles at a market, always check for fresh firm cukes, and pickle as soon as you can. Soak in ice water if you don't plan to pickle on the first day you purchase..GOOD LUCK!!
Step 8: Add the Bloody Mary Brine
Add enough brine to the packed cucumbers, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Add 1/2 teaspoon of canning salt, 1/2 teaspoon of peppercorns and 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper to each pint jar. Wipe jar tops with moist paper towel, making sure the rims and tops are clear. Add lids and bands, finger tighten and place in the hot water bath canning rack.
Tip: As long as your water from sterilizing the jars is clean and clear; use it to hot water bath your pickles. I usually add a splash of vinegar to my canner water to prevent any clouding that might accumulate on the outside of the jars from chemicals in my water. It also makes clean up much easier!
Step 9: Hot Water Bath
Place jars on rack in canner and submerge into the water. Water should cover your jars. Bring to a boil and let boil for 15 minutes. Remove from canner, cool and wait for the magical "pop" !
These pickles are best if left to rest for 6 weeks! No need to refrigerate until you open!
Step 10: Keep Enjoying ...even After the Pickles Are Gone!?!
If you are a pickle loving, bloody Mary lover.....add a stick of celery, and an olive or two, and a shot or so... of vodka to the brine = one more way to love this home canned goodness!