Mmmm. The first pickles emerged from their water bath today with nary a problem. That sweet pinging sound of jar lids sealing sang a late summer melody as the hot jars cool on a folded checked tablecloth on the kitchen counter.
This batch is bread and butter pickles, made with a sweet white vinegar brine that is seasoned with mustard seeds, whole cloves, and a touch of turmeric. The cucumbers, raised from seed in my garden, were picked late this morning, soaked in salted ice water all afternoon, and pickled by 6 pm. The plants, a variety called Marketmore, have been bearing fruit for almost two weeks and there are still more cukes to pick.
There is something so eminently satisfying with growing and preserving one's own food. While I don't do the volume of canning that I once did, these jars of bread and butter pickles have made my day and will be a reminder of summer in the dead of winter.