One of the most delicious ways of preserving vegetables is by pickling them.
And when you pickle something, you usually give it a water bath or it is also called ‘canning’. What’s that you may ask? It’s when you put your bottled pickles into a pot with water and bring them to the boil. Depending on your ingredients, you will keep it at a slow boil anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes. This will ensure your pickles are shelf stable for a long time and won’t ferment in the jar! Not that there’s anything wrong with fermented pickles, but if you want to keep them in your pantry and not your fridge, then you’ll need to follow the water bath process.
My top tips for water bath processing:
Use sterilised jars, and allow a centimeter of ‘head space’ between the top of the pickles and the lid. Don’t overfill the jars.
Line your pot with an old tea towel. It stops the jars banging on the pot bottom when the water boils.
Use a pair of rubber coated jam tongs when removing the hot jars. They will save you many slips and accidents! I have a pair of Kilner Jam Jar Tongs and I love them!
Place a tea towel close to your pot so you can transfer the hot jars to a spot close to the pot. Use an oven glove in your left hand (if you’re right handed, or the opposite if you’re a leftie) to guide the hot jars to the landing spot.
Does your kitchen bench look like mine? If it does, then you know I’ve got a whole lot of preserving on my hands!