My friend Eva told me that she has a vegetable guy who comes to her home on Fridays. Early afternoon and that he has the most wonderful small tomatoes. So she invited me over to sit and wait with her until he arrived. I purchased a bag full of these little buties and another bag of cucumbers. Guess what I am doing??
Well I was going to can tomatoes but after reading my Joy of Cooking cookbook on canning and doing more research on the internet it looks like I need to use a pressure canning process for tomatoes and because I do not have a big enough pressure pot or want to blow up my pressure pot while attempting this for the first time all we will be doing is canning Fresh Garlic/Dill Pickle Spears today.
First you need to get all your ingredients together. Sterilized canning jars and lids, cleaned cucumbers, Heinz vinegar, spices and herbs (mustard seed, celery seed, salt and fresh garlic and fresh dill).
Cut the cucumbers length wise to the length that will fit in the jars, cutting away any seeds, place the cucumber spears into the jars alternating between the skin side showing on the outside and the flesh side showing, it just looks so much nicer when giving a jar as a gift. After all jars are filled to capacity, you really need to squeeze them in tight. Add your spices to the top of the jar and slivers of fresh garlic around the inside of the jar. I use pickling seasonings like mustard seeds, celery seeds and fresh dill. Heat your vinegar and salt to a boil and pour the hot mixture to fill the jars. Wipe the edge of the jar with a clean towel and tighten the lid. The pickles are fresh and need to be refrigerated for a few days before use. The quantity of the spices and herbs is totally up to your taste and the amount of vinegar depends upon how many jars of pickles you are preparing. Canning like this is not an exact science you will need to experiment to find what taste best to you. I always use Heinz vinegar because it is stronger than what you can buy locally.