My Tuesday pickle-making venture went over fairly well. The major hold up was that Meijer was out of pint size Mason jars AND all brands of celery seed. Apparently I am not the only Holland-ite interested in pickling my crops. I solved my spice dilemma by using a bread and butter ready-mix from Bell. I found Mason jars at Menards.
So, as you can deduct from above, I didn't get the joy of saying I made them "from scratch" since I had to purchase a ready made spice mix. Oh well. I'll save the Martha recipe for next time.
Here's my cucumber crop.
I cut some in spears and used my mandolin to cut the others in rounds. I combined them with a couple of medium onions. I then used salt to draw out the liquid (supposedly they'll be crisper this way), and mixed in some ice. Three hours later, I was allowed to move forward.
The spice mix was combined with 8 cups of cider vinegar and 6 cups of sugar. After bringing to a simmer, I ladeled it into each of the mason jars. Oh, and I should say, I "sterilized" the jars by running them through a hi-heat cycle on the dishwasher. The jars were placed in a hot water bath and boiled for 10 minutes. It was definitely quite a feat removing those jars without dropping them. I thought a couple of jars didn't seal, but later as they cooled, I heard a few "pops" from the lids, like magic. For my first trial in canning, I'm pretty pleased.
Now I just have to be patient for several weeks before I open one to taste them! I'll make sure they're gift-worthy before I share.