posted August 4, 2013 1:19 PM   RSS | iCal | +googleCal

Sun August 25 at 1:00 PM, Secretariat and Cortex' house
6005 North Lovely Street, Portland, OR, USA (Map & Directions)
A pickling/canning meetup at Secretariat and Cortex' house. As they say, many hands make light work.
I've been water-bath canning for a little over a year now, and I find it really rewarding to preserve a few cans of a good recipe. But the amount of work, alone in a hot kitchen, kind of sucks! But I've always had fun at canning classes, where a group splits up the work and gets it done in half the time or less, and everybody ends up with a few jars of the end product (rather than enough jars to provision an army!)

No knowledge needed- we can show you how to can (Water-bath canning. I personally haven't tried pressure canning yet, but I do have access to one I could borrow), and I have a pretty good handle on the food safety side of things (I err on the side of caution).

I think it's seasonally time for cucumber pickles or green bean pickles, and soon will be time for all sorts of tomato products (salsa, tomato sauce, ketchup).

Or, do you have a great canning/preserving recipe you'd like to share with others? (google spreadsheet)
posted by Secretariat to Meetup (85 comments total)

Oh man I would love to learn how to pickle stuff. Count me in!
posted by mathowie at 1:41 PM on August 4, 2013

I don't have any recipes but I am interested!
posted by fiercekitten at 4:15 PM on August 4, 2013

Pickling seems so daunting, I would love to at least witness this and we always have extra stuff from the CSA. I'd also be interested in figuring out quick pickling.
posted by mimo at 9:39 PM on August 4, 2013

Interested! I've done a bit of pickling, and have a water bath canner, too.
posted by dorey_oh at 12:05 AM on August 5, 2013

If it's hot, I recommend canning outside to keep the house cool. I have a propane stove (2-burner) that I am happy to lend out (in fact, it's lent out now, but I should get it back.)

I was at Krueger's on Sauvie Island on Sunday and they had big bags of cucumbers for $10 and bigger bags for $20. and they also had big bunches of dill.

I think dilly beans are fun to make. And then we can have a brunch and bloody mary meetup later in the year!
posted by vespabelle at 9:02 AM on August 5, 2013

Yeah, it was some pictures of the big bags of Kruger's cucumbers that drove me to post this meetup idea! Clearly it is cucumber season.
posted by Secretariat at 9:06 AM on August 5, 2013

That sounds exactly like the kind of thing I want to do.
posted by redsparkler at 12:40 PM on August 5, 2013

And I also have a two-burner propane stove.
posted by redsparkler at 12:41 PM on August 5, 2013

Is there a date and time for this? I have another canner (a pressure canner, but it's grand for simple water bath canning too). I've never made any cucumber pickles, but red onions and any sort of green bean and carrots make yummy pickles. Garlic too, if one isn't too lazy for the peeling.

I'm definitely in favor of the outdoor propane burner for heating the actual canners. We'll still need another burner for heating the brine for any of the quick pickle recipes I've even used. I can tentatively volunteer my kitchen and backyard (in NoPo near U of P) if that helps.
posted by janell at 2:46 PM on August 5, 2013

Ok, sounds like there's some interest in this sort of meetup! Maybe let's figure out what date works for the most people, and then a location, based on who ends up being available on that date?

I am actually available most days out of the week until the end of September when PSU classes start up, but I assume weekends are best for others. My best weekends are:

August 24/25
August 31/ Sept 1/2 (labor day weekend)
Sept 7/8
Sept 22
Sept 28/29

I've never used an outdoor propane burner, but it sounds like a good idea for hot weather.
posted by Secretariat at 8:36 AM on August 6, 2013

My availability is primarily August 25th and Labor Day weekend. The weekend of the 7/8 is not impossible, but the rest of September is out.
posted by mimo at 10:31 AM on August 6, 2013

I think all those dates work for me.
posted by fiercekitten at 7:40 PM on August 6, 2013

Last weekend of August or Labor Day weekend work for me. September is kinda booked already.
posted by dorey_oh at 8:22 PM on August 6, 2013

I could probably do 8/24-25 or Sept. 7-8, and would be glad to bring ingredients for, and make, some of my pretty-damn-good peach chutney, as long as I could give the results away to others. (I still have a few jars left from the last time I made peach chutney, I think two years ago, when I really overdid it...)
posted by Kat Allison at 12:35 PM on August 7, 2013

BTW, I love the tags on this post.
posted by mimo at 12:37 PM on August 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

Will there be jamming?
posted by dersins at 1:07 PM on August 7, 2013

The only jamming permitted will be udu-centric.

But seriously- there could be jam-the-food creating, if that is the will of the people. Seems like we could probably do maybe 2 separate recipes? Much more than that and we'd need about a billion burners or hotplates, and any efficiency from working together would be lost. Maybe a pickle and a jam, or a chutney (mmm, peach chutney...)? Or several pickled somethings that have similar or the same brine, perhaps.

Looks like the current best day is 8/25, closely followed by Labor Day weekend?
posted by Secretariat at 4:27 PM on August 7, 2013

Yea, let it be the 25th.
posted by curious nu at 10:34 AM on August 9, 2013

Ok, I have updated the date. Location TBD, but I put my house as a default. My kitchen isn't the best for group cooking- at least, I always feel like I'm in the way when there's more than just me working in there. But we can do it here if it turns out that turns out to be the best option.

It also sounds like I live very close to janell- so it's safe to say that NoPo near U of P is convenient for two of us. But I'm also willing to pack up my canning equipment and travel.

As far as recipes, my favorites mentioned so far would be (produce permitting):

pickled red onions
pickled cucumbers of some sort
peach chutney
dilly beans

What else? If we wanted to do garlic, there was a quick-peel method posted on the blue once upon a time- does anyone remember? Is that when you shake it around in two bowls? I never need to peel that much garlic, so I've never tried it.
posted by Secretariat at 12:28 PM on August 10, 2013

I've never done the two-bowl-shake thing either, and it'd be a fun thing to try. (Prob. outdoors, so as not to scare the cats.)

Barring any unanticipated life blow-ups, I'll be there! If others would rather do jam, or something else other than peach chutney for the non-pickling activity, that would be great--just say the word. If I don't hear otherwise, though, I'll bring enough ingredients to make about a dozen half-pint jars. I'm pretty sure I have that many empty jars around here somewhere, which I will wash and bring, along with fresh lids. If I get really ambitious/organized, I'll make an effort to peel the peaches before bringing them down, since that is by far the most fiddly and annoying part of the whole process, as well as requiring another burner + boiling water.

Yay! I'm looking forward to learning to pickle, since that's something I haven't previously done.
posted by Kat Allison at 5:26 PM on August 11, 2013

Oh, don't peel the peaches before coming- that's the whole point of this, if we work on it together it will go fast and won't be annoying. Do you usually blanch them? I can make sure to have or bring a bag of ice and an extra bowl or large pot.
posted by Secretariat at 8:48 AM on August 12, 2013

I will plan on bringing a pair of jar-tongs and some chemicals (pickling salt and I think I've got some CaCl2). Pepper flakes are always delicious in pickled green beans, so probably those too. Maybe also the roasting pan that is used to shuttle jars from the canner to the "cooling off" spot when canning shindigs happen here.

Do you have a dishwasher? On the jar front, it might make more sense to pool our funds and buy a flat or two of fresh jars and pop them in the wash while we work on all the prep. We won't need everyone to show up with a flat, and anyone who's never canned before might not want/need to make that level of investment. Or carry that kind of load on transit.

I'll look through recipes when I get home, and put up shopping lists for a couple of things.
posted by janell at 9:50 AM on August 12, 2013

I should mention, I've got the basics: tongs, big canning pot with lifter rack, some salt (maybe 1/3 box or a little less), "pickle crisp" (I think that's CaCl2?) and small amounts of most appropriate spices. It will be good to have some duplication, though.

I suspect there's a few differences in how we all can- here's one. I do have a dishwasher, but here's what I've been doing lately. I put "clean to the eye" jars (either new from the store or ones I've washed and put back into storage) into the boiling water for 5 minutes while whatever I'm canning is cooking, to sanitize them. Between that and the processing time for the filled jar, any microbes should be killed (or at least I've been assured by my local canning instructor!) Maybe this only works out workflow-wise for me since I usually do smallish batches? I can run a bunch through the dishwasher in the morning regardless

I think at this point I might have more jars in my house than I can practically use, so I don't mind sharing some. Once we've got recipes picked I'll go to the basement and count.
posted by Secretariat at 1:50 PM on August 12, 2013

I can bring my outdoor stove, propane, jars, camp chairs, and beer.
posted by vespabelle at 2:07 PM on August 12, 2013

Ah, right, the crucial ingredient, beer! Which reminds me, I have a mandoline slicer (which should be used before consuming beer)

Here's a couple of recipes I've made that seem to turn out pretty good:

Dilly Beans
4 lbs green beans
6 garlic cloves
2 T dill seed
1 T black pepper corns
4 c distilled white vinegar (I may have used ½ white and ½ apple cider)
2 c water
¼ c sugar
2 T canning salt

Kosher Dill Pickle Slices
4 lbs 4-inch cucumbers
6 T canning salt
4 ½ c water
4 c vinegar (I did use ½ white and ½ apple cider on this one)
14 heads fresh dill
3 ½ t mustard seeds
14 pepper corns
8 cloves garlic
8 bay leaves
1 piece hot red pepper (optional- added to each jar per personal preference)

I'm open to trying something completely new instead, though. I have a couple of cookbooks- I'll flip through and see if I see anything good.
posted by Secretariat at 7:11 PM on August 12, 2013

Related to why I have avoided canning up to this point: How Not To Die From Botulism. My ignorance breeds fear.
posted by mimo at 3:34 PM on August 13, 2013

That's exactly why I don't like to deviate from a recipe from a trusted source (generally a cookbook with a preface about how the recipes were tested for safety). There was a great chart provided at a very boring canning class I took through the OSU Extension Service (Master Canners) that listed the pH levels of common fruits and vegetables. I'll have to see if I can find it again. They were very serious about the dangers of botulism- and interestingly, there was one food that they told me was not really safe to can ever (although I think it could be pressure canned, at the higher temp)- pumpkin butter. In lab tests, they weren't able to always get it up to a high enough temperature in a water bath, due to the viscosity.

That's why I'm a fan of pickles- all that vinegar gives the end product a safe, low pH (I didn't notice this until I started canning, but vinegars are labeled with their concentrations, so you can tell which ones are safely interchangeable).

I'm not really comfortable with canning beans, meat, or fish at all, but I'm told this is something that could be safely done with a pressure canner.
posted by Secretariat at 6:35 PM on August 13, 2013

I don't do the simmering jars thing -- the canning times below are from USDA and don't assume any of the materials going into the jars (or the jars) are sterile. I just run them through the dishwasher to clean them and get them a little warm to avoid thermal shock. But I'm game to be extra careful.

My dilly beans recipe is pretty similar (I use more vinegar and more salt and more garlic). In 8oz jam jars, pints, and jar-and-a-halfs (ie, tall 12oz jars), it takes 10mins in the canner at a boil, then 5mins after turning off the heat.

Since I'm on the page in the lab book, here's a fridge pickle recipe that's excellent. I don't have canning parameters for it (and I"m not remotely about to wing it). If the mandolin is out, it's an easy to knock out while the "real" pickle batches are in the canner.
Zucchini Pickles (not canned, needs refridgeration) - makes a quart or so. Originally from Zuni Cafe.
1 lb zucchini - washed and trimmed, sliced to 1/16"
1 small yellow onion - thinly sliced
2 T kosher salt
2 C cider vinegar
1C sugar
1 1/2 tsp dry mustard
1 1/2 tsp crushed mustard seeds (yellow or brown)
scant 1 tsp ground turmeric

Combine veggies in shallow glass dish with the salt. Add water and ice cubes to cover. Let marinate for 1 hour. When zucchini is soft, drain and pat dry.

Meanwhile, combine everything else and simmer 3min to make a brine. Cool to just above room temp to avoid blanching the veggies, then add to veggies. Stir. Allow to mellow in the fridge for a day or so for best flavor.

Pickled carrots (7-8 pints, sometimes needs extra brine if carrots aren't well packed)
6C white vinegar
2C water
1/2 pickling salt
4 cloves garlic, halved
14 heads dill
3 1/2 tsp hot pepper flakes
5 lbs carrots (baby, or cut into sticks the height of the jar)

Combine vinegar, water, and salt. Boil to dissolve salt.
Pack jars with 1/2 clove garlic, 1 head of dill, and 1/2 tsp pepper flakes. Pack the carrots on top, to within 1/2" of top. Top with 2nd dill head. Ladle in brine to cover (leaving 1/2" headspace). Can 10mins + 5 with heat off.

For garlic
Brine is 2 1/2 C white vinegar
1 C white wine
1 T pickling salt
1 T sugar
1 T dried oregano
12 heads garlic, peeled (when I made this the first time & wrote things down, 1 lb garlic gave 4 8oz jars)
5 dried chili peppers

Boil vinegar, salt, sugar to dissolve. Reduce heat, simmer 1 minute. Add garlic, simmer another 1 minute.
Pack garlic and chili peppers up to 1/2" from top. Add brine.
Can 10min + 5min.

Pickled red onions
4C red wine vinegar or champagne vinegar
1 clove garlic
10C sliced, peeled red onions (this starts as ~2lb)

Boil vinegar, then simmer garlic for 5 min to infuse. Add onions, bring to boil. Reduce heat again and simmer 5min, covered, until onions are heated through. Discard garlic.
Pack to with 1/2" of top (I'd go leaner than this so the onions don't stick up above brine and turn gray), Add brine to 1/2" from top. Can 10min + 5.
These are probably the most accessible quick pickles to use... salads, sandwiches, deviled eggs...

Nearly all of these need the same canning process (which I'm guessing is true of Secretariat's dilly beans too, and maybe the chutney), so we can mix and match if people want to make a variety of things. But maybe not bite off more than we can chew... the last batch in the canner can be killer when you're hot and beat.

posted by janell at 9:07 PM on August 13, 2013

Oh yeah. For the recipes I posted, Dilly Beans in pint jars are processed 15 +5 minutes, Kosher Dill Pickles in pint jars are processed 15 minutes.
posted by Secretariat at 9:46 AM on August 14, 2013

The peach chutney doesn't need to be processed as such; the ingredients get chopped up, simmered for maybe an hour, and then put into clean jars and sealed. So we could get by with a single burner for first blanching the peaches and then simmering the chutney. Ingredients are:
4 lbs peaches
1 lb brown sugar
5 oz each raisins and dried cherries
2 lbs onions, minced
2 cups cider vinegar
2 oz fresh ginger, peeled/minced
1 lemon, juiced + zest
1 orange, juiced + zest
1 T chili powder
2 T mustard seeds
1 T salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cayenne
Basically it's just blanch, peel and chop the peaches, mince onions and ginger, juice and zest the lemon and orange, plop everything in a pot, and simmer until good and thick. Then ladle into jars, wipe the rims, and seal. Between the long simmer and the acid levels, I've never worried about botulism with this.
posted by Kat Allison at 7:08 AM on August 15, 2013

Since there's been no further suggestions or outright objections, I think I'll officially change the location to my house.
posted by Secretariat at 7:25 PM on August 15, 2013

Kat Allison, that sounds delicious but the not processing part sets off a few fear-of-the-unknown bells in my head- but like I said, I've only been doing this for a little over a year. I mean, clearly, you're not dead. I might secretly keep my jar in the fridge, though?
posted by Secretariat at 7:35 PM on August 15, 2013

I haven't had the best luck with jams/etc without giving everything a bit of a go in the canner to drive all the air out. It's not a botulism thing, it's an oxidation thing. The top looks way less gross if everything goes in the canner for 5-10 min at the end. Other than that, I have jars and rings and wide mouth tops and a big pot I can bring. I owe people stuff, so this will be a good way to get their jars back to them.

Maybe we should figure out how many jars each of us are bringing and what they want so we don't run out. Because I will be very sad if we run out of pickles.
posted by fiercekitten at 11:00 PM on August 15, 2013

Does this call for a spreadsheet?! Maybe I'll make a spreadsheet!
posted by Secretariat at 11:03 AM on August 16, 2013

Here's a spreadsheet. Feel free to edit the format.
posted by Secretariat at 11:30 AM on August 16, 2013

To further address mimo's botulism concerns, the acid chart I was thinking of is page 9 in this PDF (additional info on page 8):

USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning Guide 1

I kind of wish it were words instead of pictures, but what do you do. It shows what sorts of things might need extra acid added (tomatoes actually should fall into this category too, they aren't consistently acidic enough) and which ones don't.
posted by Secretariat at 5:54 PM on August 16, 2013

Ok, sorry about that, I didn't set up the spreadsheet properly- nobody was able to get in. Fixed now!
posted by Secretariat at 9:06 AM on August 18, 2013

I've put some stuff on the spreadsheet, but could also bring various kinds of other kitchen implements or cooking vessels if needed. Thanks for getting this organized--yay spreadsheet!

Also, it looks like the USDA guide is on the side of additional processing for chutneys, so I'll plan on doing that, being all in favor of the Let's Not Die From Botulism! plan.
posted by Kat Allison at 1:32 PM on August 19, 2013

A couple people said they could bring tables- that would be great, if someone could bring one for the outdoor burner (so I guess strong enough to hold a canning pot full of water!). The table I have is a heavy dining room type table that I could move out if I had to- but an actual folding table would be much better.

On that note, several people said they had outdoor burners- does that include anyone who is planning on coming to the meetup? Or should I find one to borrow?

I saw a recipe vote for Bread and Butter Pickles. The recipe I have for them is a 2 day process, so maybe not well suited to this meetup, unless I completed the first day of prep before the meetup (which I guess I could do if there's enough interest). The basic steps are:

Day 1: slice cucumbers, and layer cucumbers and salt in a bowl. Fill the bowl with cold water. Let sit for 8-18 hours.

Day 2: Rinse cucumbers and drain, make a brine, put everything in jars, process.

This sort of thing, with the pre-soaking of pickles, seems to be pretty common. There's even a recipe for 9-day pickles that is supposedly very good. Every day or so you salt or rinse or cook the cucumbers, and then on the 10th day you're done.!
posted by Secretariat at 9:29 AM on August 20, 2013

B&B pickles was me. I just like them but didn't realize the extra prep involved. I think I'll bring some ingredients for chutney too.
posted by fiercekitten at 7:24 AM on August 21, 2013

At this point, it seems like we're leaning towards:

1. Peach Chutney
2. Dilly Beans
3. Kosher Dill Pickles

Any interest for carrots, onions, zucchini, garlic, etc, instead? In addition? I don't know if we should try more- 3 recipes might be enough work.

It sounds like Kat Allison and fiercekitten are bringing ingredients for the peach chutney. I think I'll pick up the ingredients for the Kosher Dills (Kruger's Farm has a stand just a few blocks down the road from me) and maybe someone else can pick up Dilly Beans? Or if it would be easier, I can pick up the bean ingredients too and we can negotiate splitting the costs?

Jars- seems like the chutney could work in any size of jars, as long as they're not huge? Should we do 8 oz jars?

The dilly beans and kosher dill pickles usually go in pint jars. The pickle recipe makes 7 jars. Unfortunately, I didn't write down how many jars the dilly bean recipe makes- probably about the same, maybe a little less? Should we double these recipes to be sure everyone can go home with at least one jar (especially if anyone who said "maybe" shows up)? If we double, we'll need to grab another dozen or so pint jars.

I've listed a +1 for this meetup- it's kind of half Andrea, who you may have met some of the other recent meetups. She's really a "maybe" not a "yes". So I guess it's also half Cortex- he'll be around, so technically attending this meetup, but I think he's probably going to leave the canning work to us and only assist with the beer-drinking and chattering part.
posted by Secretariat at 9:12 AM on August 22, 2013

We can bring dilly beans. Where's the best place to get them?
posted by curious nu at 12:02 PM on August 22, 2013

For the beans- the source doesn't matter, as long as they look like something you'd enjoy eating fresh. Maybe if you have a local farmer's market or grocery store that reliably has big piles of beans that you can shovel into bags this time of the year? I haven't compared prices. Some farm stands/farmers market vendors cater to picklers this time of the year and have their beans pre-bagged and weighed, which is convenient.

Either green or yellow beans should turn out the same, although I've only done green- it might even be pretty to have a mix of the two, if the price is the same.

As for the other ingredients- I think I'll have enough vinegar- I just bought a gallon at the store the other day. I have sugar, salt, dill seed, and I think I have enough peppercorns.
posted by Secretariat at 2:41 PM on August 22, 2013

I have garlic I can bring for dilly beans. (the cloves are really tiny so they're kinda a pain to chop for cooking. I'll bring to stainless steel bowls so we can try shake-to-peel method.)

I also have at least a dozen smallish (widemouth, are those 16 or 8 oz?) jars which might be nice for chutney. (not so good for pickles or beans though.
posted by vespabelle at 2:48 PM on August 22, 2013

nu, didn't we get any beans in the CSA pick up this week?

Secretariat, do they have to be green beans, or will purple and yellow ones work too?
posted by mimo at 3:05 PM on August 22, 2013

What are you, some kind of bean racist?!

(But seriously, I don't want to see any of those no good fava beans or shelling beans around here... And don't get me started on so called "english peas"!)

Any sort of "green bean" fresh bean will work- yellow (or "wax"), purple, green, or any shade in between. Last year I was getting a lot of romano beans in my veggie box- they're flat, but taste just like green beans. In theory, those should work just fine too.

I guess I should ask before I go buy some- does anyone have dill growing in their yard? I tried to grow some this year, but it got overrun by weeds. There's not enough left living for the pickles.
posted by Secretariat at 7:40 AM on August 23, 2013

I swear I am not beanist.
posted by mimo at 11:03 AM on August 23, 2013

I'm a little overwhelmed with canned stuff at my house right now, so if I can make it I wouldn't be taking anything home, but will bring beer and act as a set of helping hands.
posted by homodachi at 1:59 PM on August 23, 2013

Dang... is it the sort of overwhelmed that any of us could help with? ;) You could bring some stuff to trade out so that you've got space to take some home, if you want (or just come hang out, that's cool too!).
posted by Secretariat at 3:22 PM on August 23, 2013

Haven't kept up with the planning, but the pickling/chutneying plan looks great!

Also, can't get to the spread sheet from this computer (still at work), but here's what I can bring, if needed:

-water bath canner, jar lifter
-big cooking pot
-cider vinegar
-beans -- have a great source for them, happy to pick up a bunch. Any idea how many lbs?
-pint jar lids, and probably a few pint jars
-card table

Will check the spread sheet tomorrow and see what is still needed.
posted by dorey_oh at 8:06 PM on August 23, 2013

My girlfriend and I are in town from waaaaay across the country as well and would love to swing by and help provide manual labor if y'all aren't too crowded with folks already. I'm pretty handy in a kitchen, and I have refrigerator pickle experience, and I know basic water bath principles , but no hands on experience. Also I have little fear of being burned.
posted by clockbound at 7:54 AM on August 24, 2013

dorey oh, if you could bring the cider vinegar and pint jars/pint jar lids, that would be great. It sounds like mimo and curious nu might have beans handled- I'm not sure how many they have. If everyone is going to want dilly beans, I think we should do sort of 1 1/2 recipe (or we could just double)- 6 to 8 lbs of green-type beans.

The only other things I have left on my list to run out and buy are pickling cucumbers (about 6-8 lbs, again) a bundle of dill (the tall kind of bundle that you see tucked in the corner of supermarkets or farm stands, with the dill heads still on- the dill heads look really pretty in the dill pickle jars.). Although if I'm wrong and there's other ingredients unaccounted for, I do live pretty close to the store so it will only take a few minutes to go grab something.

I suppose there's snacks to think of too- I have some chips and kettle corn and stuff like that, probably some cheese and fruit. If we end up working so hard that we get a powerful hunger, I was thinking we could just order some sort of takeout. It's hard to say, working with food- sometimes you eat enough of the ingredients along the way.

MoonOrb, that's great! Are you in town from someplace you drove from, or flew from? Hopefully from someplace that you can take some pickles or chutney back to. This is the first time Portland has really tried doing a meetup like this (and certainly the first time I have) so cut us some slack if it's a little seat-of-our-pants. :)
posted by Secretariat at 8:19 AM on August 24, 2013

Ah, clockbound, missed your comment! Now, you guys might have trouble taking pickles or chutney home with you. Now is probably a good time for me to mention that the the pickles achieve their best flavor when allowed to sit for 3-4 weeks before consuming. You're certainly welcome, though- and maybe someone knows a good safe way to ship home-canned goods?
posted by Secretariat at 8:25 AM on August 24, 2013

Jars aren't that spendy to mail, for the out-of-towners. They get heavy pretty quick, but 2-3 jars in a small box isn't too bad. I ship them with the rings to protect the lid/jar edge just in case, but it's never been a problem. And as a bonus it decreases the ring population in my house.

I'll throw some bubblewrap and small boxes and packing tape in the car.

I'll check in on the spreadsheet later today and run to the store if we're missing anything (dill heads, etc). I haven't yet climbed up into the cupboard where empty jars live to see what's available.
posted by janell at 12:07 PM on August 24, 2013

Assuming I have them, I'll try to bring mostly "runts" -- 4oz jars. I like them because they are easy to finish quickly once opened.
posted by janell at 12:10 PM on August 24, 2013

We're not coming for the pickles, we are coming for meeting Internet people and to lend a hand! I demand all if you have delicious pickles.
posted by clockbound at 8:52 AM on August 25, 2013

Ok, I think I am about to run out and try to find some cucumbers and dill heads in the next hour or so, unless anyone else is on their way to do that at the moment? Worst case, too many cucumbers, I guess. Better than no cucumbers!
posted by Secretariat at 10:26 AM on August 25, 2013

It's raining over here on the west side but I don't know for how long or if it will move east. We're coming anyway!
posted by fiercekitten at 11:11 AM on August 25, 2013

There's dill at the coop near me. I can bring some if you haven't gotten it!
posted by vespabelle at 11:19 AM on August 25, 2013

Sprinkling a bit over here too, but nothing that should slow us down too much, we've always got the kitchen and the shed.

And go for it, vespabelle, we haven't ended up getting out the door quite yet so we can totally let you grab the dill and scratch it off our list.
posted by cortex at 11:26 AM on August 25, 2013

I'm in from Seattle and would love to join for part of it if you have space and don't mind me showing up late (I'm going to the Hot Metal Open House at the C.C. Stern Type Foundry first). Let me know if there are any raw materials you would like me to bring and if there are any good places in the neighborhood to find them. I'm coming by transit.
posted by grouse at 11:54 AM on August 25, 2013

I think I have cucumbers I can bring, for extra cucumbers.

Also I am bringing 4 pounds of beans.

mimo is feeling a bit under the weather today and can't make it. =/
posted by curious nu at 11:56 AM on August 25, 2013

OK, shame on me for not reading all the comments first. I will plan on finding snacks (so it isnt anything any of the recipes depend on) especially if there is a nearby seller of snacks you can recommend.
posted by grouse at 11:58 AM on August 25, 2013

Leaving Albany, should be there around 1:30ish. Bringing cider vinigar, pint jars, and extra pint lids. Also cookies. Because every meet up should have cookies, right?
posted by dorey_oh at 12:05 PM on August 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

grouse, there's a 7-11 at the corner of Wall and Lombard (I assume you'll be on a bus that goes along Lombard). Just a couple blocks further west on Lombard (at Ida? - its just across the railroad cut) there's a Fred Meyer.
posted by janell at 12:41 PM on August 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

And for that matter we're pretty good on snacks even at the rate things are going, so just bring yourself on over and if there's a snacktastrophe in the mean time said 7-11's like a minute away on foot so we can figure it out then.
posted by cortex at 1:33 PM on August 25, 2013

posted by cortex at 2:20 PM on August 25, 2013

Yes, total success! We will have some epic pictures to post. Before and after of jars, and before and after of beer. Thank you all for all the helpful pickling advice and all the hard work. We really accomplished a lot. Is there anyone who left without pickles or beans that wanted some? I can bring them to a future meetup.

I also have a round metal table, the Ball preserving book, some brown sugar, and a mesh bag that don't belong to me. I might find more things tomorrow when I finish cleaning up. If they are yours, they are safe! And thank you to whoever had the presence of mind to put those few leftover blanched peaches into the fridge. I kept looking at them but forgetting to do anything.

(PS, pickles and dilly beans should sit for about 3-4 weeks before opening, for optimal flavor. They won't hurt you if you eat them sooner, but they won't be at their best. The chutney is good to go whenever the mood strikes. For all of the above, shelf stable before opening, refrigerate after opening.)
posted by Secretariat at 8:51 PM on August 25, 2013

This was a totally wonderful event! (And yes, epic -- we could probably supply the pickle and chutney needs of the greater Portland area for the next few months...) Thanks very much to Secretariat for making this happen, and for adroit, organized and gracious hosting.

The metal table is mine--totally forgot about it until I got home. Maybe I can pick it up when I swing through town en route to next month's camping weekend, where it might prove handy.

And I totally think we should do a fruitcake-and-other-seasonal-baking event, come December--maybe I could lure folks to Olympia for it?

Thanks again, everyone!
posted by Kat Allison at 9:08 PM on August 25, 2013

Thanks everybody for coming! This was great, not least because my personal duties came down to "perfunctorily cut up two pickles and otherwise drink beer and oblige people to laugh politely at my various terrible jokes". A tremendous amount of credit to Secretariat for hostessing mostessly; she knows what the hell she's doing with this canning stuff, I'm just along for the ride mostly.

Like Sec suggests, I'll have some photos to post tomorrow, and maybe others will too; don't forget to add them via the meetup photos widget up top if you've got 'em.

MoonOrb, grouse, Kat, and clockbound & Michelle+1: great seeing some out-of-towners, thanks so much for coming out. Hope we'll see you again some time when it's opportune.

I am like three hundred percent onboard with a fruitcake-making meetup in Olympia. That's at least two hundred percent of hyperbolic enthusiasm. DO NOT SNEEZE AT IT.

Kat, remind us on the eve of camping and we'll just pack the table into the car and bring it along.
posted by cortex at 10:49 PM on August 25, 2013

After the jars are sanitized under the rings, should they be wiped down with a towel, or left to air dry?
posted by curious nu at 6:02 AM on August 26, 2013

Also that mesh bag is mine! I shall grab it next time.

Thanks to everyone for coming and the communal labor for greater pickle republic. I am quite looking forward to this stuff!
posted by curious nu at 6:53 AM on August 26, 2013

Most instructions say something like "leave the jars to sit undisturbed for 24 hours once you remove them from the water bath". This is totally impractical if you're canning in a different location than where you live! I don't think anyone does it. They should sit until they seal and ideally until they're not super hot- and by that time the water has usually evaporated off the outside. Sometimes I take a towel and daub off the little pool of water on top of the lid so that I can label the lid sooner- but that could just air dry too. (The risk of moving the jars too soon, before they've sealed is that the jars would never seal- in which case they should be stored in the fridge. I think everything we canned had sealed before people took it home.)

Once the lid has sealed (lid is concave) and the jar is cool enough to touch, the ring can be removed- it's not actually doing anything anymore- the lid is held on by suction. If you want to test that, try to lift the jar by picking it up by only the lid (with your fingers- don't pry at it with tools or anything unless you're ready to open it!). Wipe down the sides of the jar underneath where the ring was with a moist towel or rag, just to make sure there's nothing that got stuck under the lid that will start growing mold or anything else. (This is more of a problem with sweet sticky things like jellies and jams,- but it's a good practice anyway).

Store the rings someplace where you'll be able to find them again when you break open the seal, to hold the lid on in the fridge. I keep them in a basket near the jars.
posted by Secretariat at 7:38 AM on August 26, 2013

That was awesome! Thanks so much for the jar of dilly beans! How long before I can eat them and is it optimal to let them sit even longer?
posted by grouse at 9:37 AM on August 26, 2013

I had an awesome time and was surprised (but shouldn't be!) how the time flew by! It was nice meeting new folks and seeing old ones.
posted by vespabelle at 9:57 AM on August 26, 2013

Heya, we've got a black umbrella here too, I think maybe it's clockbound's?
posted by cortex at 11:19 AM on August 26, 2013

The dilly beans should ideally sit for about 3 weeks, to let the flavors sort of soak in. You can let them sit longer, but the flavor isn't going to change much after that (I suspect that past 2 years the flavor or texture or both will start to get less interesting- but I don't have anything that I've stored that long.)
posted by Secretariat at 1:06 PM on August 26, 2013

Photos! I have added photos.

Now there are photos.
posted by cortex at 1:43 PM on August 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

Nice pics, cortex! Fun to see the pickling in action, as well as the final results.
posted by dorey_oh at 6:14 PM on August 26, 2013

(Also, if the umbrella is the out-of-towners' we could totally get it to you, I have no idea what your transit and time-table are in town so I'd hate to have you have to go out of the way or be umbrellaless.)
posted by cortex at 6:32 PM on August 26, 2013

The wayward book is mine. MeFi-mail me a good time to collect it (or you can hock it onto my porch if you are taking a stroll through the neighborhood).

Quantitatively -
We transformed ~6 pounds of beans (green and wax) into 33 half-pints of dilly beans (2 pint jars, 29 half-pint jars). We also used 3x the brine recipe (for 2x the beans in Secretariat's recipe here). Recipes always lie about how much brine to make!

On the cucumber front, we churned out 31 pint jars, 1 half-pint jar, and 7 "jar and a half" 12oz jars of kosher dill slices from 16 pounds of cucumbers. The recipe above is for 4 pounds of cukes -- we needed 5x the brine recipe for 4x the veggies.

I don't have notes on the chutney other than that it was 7 pounds of peaches (pre-processed, skins and pits included) and 4 pounds of onions to give more or less 12 pints of product.
posted by janell at 8:36 PM on August 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

Man I suck at arithmetic.
posted by janell at 9:57 PM on August 26, 2013

I'm interested in an Olympia fruitcake meetup! I checked google maps, and it says Olympia is 111 miles from my house- which means Portland people may need to check their profiles and increase the distance they have defined as "nearby" so that they get the alert email for a Olympia meetup. I just increased mine to 150 miles, and I'm seeing Seattle meetups too- but I think that's going to be ok. If there's a really interesting Seattle meetup, I guess it's not possible I'd head up for it.
posted by Secretariat at 1:30 PM on August 27, 2013

I wish there was a canning meet-up in the Bay Area. :-/
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 8:26 PM on August 29, 2013

I had some peach chutney last night (with pork tenderloin) and it was AWESOME!!!
posted by vespabelle at 12:29 PM on September 20, 2013

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments