Or people who just love super soft pickles.
Last weekend, I got together with a good friend of mine, Lorraine or Momma-san as I lovingly call her, to learn how to can pickles. We used a basic pickling recipe on the back of a pickle salt mix bag and canned pickles as well as green beans and cauliflower. I ended up taking home two, one quart jars of pickles and one of each of the other veggies.
But before we canned the veggies, Momma-san showed me how to make some anti-itch cream. Taking two bars of ivory soap, she grated the soap into a fine powder. Adding in equal parts baking soda, Momma-san then mixed the two ingredients. You can add a little bit of cold water and mix until you get the consistency you want. Some like the mixture more creamy, others a little drier.
This cream is really useful for minor itches such as bug bites. The mosquitos have returned from Hell and are buzzing rampant in my yard. I’ve already used this cream for my itchy ankles. Momma-san suggests adding a few drops of a peppermint essential oil for even better effects. Also, you can leave it on your skin to dry and then easily flake or wash it off!
So soft and itch free!
During the time that Momma-san was making the cream, we had already set our large pot of water to boil. Once the jars were done sanitizing in the dishwasher (it is so nice to have efficient equipment for this) we chopped up our veggies and began to stuff the jars. A spoonful of minced garlic and dill weed added more flavor to our vinegar mix, while dried, whole red pepper added spice and color.
After filling and closing the jars, we set then in their hot water bath to begin the canning process. I learned a lot during this process, such as how to rig a spider out of the mason jar rings to keep the jars from touching the bottom of the pot. Also, you need to fill your jars to the top, something I neglected to do when I tried to can dewberry jam. We chewed the fat while the jars bathed for 15 minutes… But we talked for so long that the jars ended up enjoying a much longer bath.
Tip: use a timer!
Our veggies, upon their rescue, shrunk a bit but were delicious. However, over-cooking also made them very soft. These are not the snappy pickles you buy from the store. The dill weed and garlic more than made up for it. I am not a big fan of pickles, but I believe I enjoyed these because of the great experience I shared with my friend. We spent all day together sharing stories, talking trash and in general, enjoyed a quite jovial time. I am very grateful to Momma-san and her skills. You may be surprised to learn that she also uses Youtube to learn her craft! Ain’t that a coinkydink?
I encourage you to maybe meet up with some interested friends and maybe can together. Or go foraging. Visit the thrift store! You never know how much fun it could be! And you can always follow along on Youtube tutorials to prepare or learn yourself. You could make pickles for toothless folks, as my good friend proudly announced after her first bite.
Stay tuned for the Featured Artist for the month of May! As always, be kind and tender to one another.