(Cue the Valley girl accent). Oh, my God. You people who can your anything are, like, so to be commended. (End the Valley girl accent).
Three hours, three solid hours it took me to do this:
Some refrigerator pickles (made from some store bought cukes @ 10/$1 and some home grown) and three, count ’em, three jars of what I’m calling seasoned tomato sauce. This was made from some of the Bandywines and some of the early girl and lots of the cherry tomatoes. I added garlic, bell peppers, onions and Italian seasoning. But three hours!!! I don’t think I’ll be canning my own tomatoes unless I grow a bazillion pounds of tomatoes to process all at one time. Although, I have to admit, hearing the sound of the lids making the little click noise when the lid sealed was kind of satisfying.
Now the pickles, that’s another story. It doesn’t take long to make a simple dill pickle brine …garlic, dill seed/dill weed, salt, vinegar, water, pepper corns/flakes, maybe a hot pepper. A few minutes to slice your pre-chilled (tip from Annie’s Granny) and washed cucumbers, a few more minutes to stuff the sliced cucumber into jars, a few minutes to pour the brine in the jar, a couple minutes to put on the lids and pop into the refrigerator. They stay nice and crunchy like Claussen pickles. (I actually heated my brine, but it’s not necessary for refrigerator pickles).
When you factor in the cost of new canning jars (about .70 each for the quart size), the cost of cukes if you buy them on sale (about .30 or .40 at 10/$1, although I could barely stuff 3 into my jars because the cucumbers were relatively large), the cost of garlic (.5 for a few cloves per jar), cost of vinegar, water, spices (negligible), that’s way less than $1.25 a jar for all natural, chemical free pickles. If you grow your own cukes and you’re reusing old canning jars, your cost has gone down to the cost of garlic and spices, which is, being generous, .25 per jar. A regularly priced jar of Claussen pickles is about $4.00, although you can catch them on sale for $2.50 . Twenty-five cents per jar or ten times more if you’re lucky and catch the Claussens on sale. The savings add up quickly. And since I actually did something right and my second planting of cucumbers were pickling cucumbers…
…I’ll be able to save by making more homemade dill pickles before the end of the growing season.