Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Duris Cucumber Farm - Pickle Party

We haven't even started school yet, and we've already gone on our first field trip.

Today, we joined other members of our homeschool group in a pickle party at Duris Cucumber Farm.  The plan was to learn how to make cold-pack pickles.  And we did exactly that.  It's easy.  It's surprisingly fun.  Josh declared it the "best day ever!"  Of course, he has a lot of those, but you get the point.

We arrived and found that they had a large square table (actually three long rectangular tables) set up with kits for each child.  There was a tray with a ring of red pepper, a grape leaf, a slice of white onion, three garlic cloves, and a slice of jalapeno.  The picture above the tray holds both medium and small cucumbers.  The mason jar is to the right.  Above everything was dill plants, apple cider vinegar and water.  After I took this picture, someone came around and added measuring cups and knives.

Everyone is at their places waiting for the rest of our group to arrive.

Someone from the farm guided the kids step-by-step through the process of putting the jars together.  Add a grape leave, green side down, to make it look nice.  Add the onion slice.  Then slice off the blossom end (lighter color end) of the cucumber and pack them in vertically.  Five, maybe six, will fit.  This is Sam shoving them in there.

Josh handed me cucumbers as I cut the blossom end off.  

Here's Maddie holding up her jar, showing our guide that hers is all done.

Then we pushed the red bell pepper, cloves of garlic, and optional jalapeno and red chili pepper in spaces between the cucumbers and the jar.  Sam added the spicy stuff.  The others decided they didn't want spicy pickles.

After that, we added the pickling spices that were already measured out into a little baggie for us.  We then took 2 or 3 stems of dill and wound it around our hands to make a little round bundle and pushed that on top of the cucumbers.  Finally, we used the small cucumbers which were curved and packed them into the top horizontally, following the curve of the jar.  

Finally, we added 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar and water to fill.  Now it was time to screw on the tops and write down a date so we'd know when we could eat them.  It takes about 4 weeks in the fridge.

Here are the kids with their finished jars of pickles.  Josh declared it the "best day ever."  They all enjoyed it. If we decide we like the pickles (we've never had homemade cold-packed pickles before), we'll make more next year.

If you are local and want to schedule your own pickle party, give them a call.  The season runs roughly from the end of July through September.

Here's a youtube video demonstration of a friend of mine showing how to make Duris Cold-Packed Pickles.  She uses a bit more seasonings than they gave us today.

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