I have spent the last two days in the kitchen-- making jam, pickles and chutney. Brian, the kids and I hit the farmers market on Sunday morning and then went to pick apricots from a friends tree. We came home with probably 15 pounds of apricots and didn't even make a dent in her tree. The results are Apricot Jam, Apricot Riesling Jam, Apricot Brandy Jam, Apricot Chutney and Bread and Butter pickles from the 4lbs of Persian cucumbers we bought at the farmers market.
If you are looking for something to do with your bumber crop of cucumbers-- here's a fabulous recipe for Bread and Butter PicklesDirections:
In a bowl, gently toss the cucumber, salt and onions. Transfer to a colander set in an extra large bowl, layering cucumber mixture then ice and finishing with a layer of ice. Weight the top with a heavy plate and chill overnight.
Meanwhile, make the pickling syrup. In a large nonreactive saucepan, combine the rest of the ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 3 minutes. Remove from heat, cool, cover and refrigerate until you are ready to proceed with the recipe.
After the cucumbers have chilled (which was overnight for me) remove and throw out any unmelted ice as well as the liquid that drained into the bowl then transfer cucumbers and onions to a large nonreactive pan. Pour the syrup over the cucumbers and bring the mixture to a low boil. Stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
With a large spoon, fill hot sterilized pint canning jars with cucumbers then ladle the syrup into the jar. Fill to about 1/4 to 1/8 inch below the rim. I used wide mouth jars and a canning funnel to make things easier. Put on the lids and screw band and then invert until they are cool-- or for at least 5 minutes.
One tip-- I find it much easier to put the jars in the over to sterilize them instead of boiling them in water. Here's what I do....load up a 9x11x2 pan with canning jars and lids (not the circle rims, just the lid part) preheat oven to 200 and pop the jars in there for 10 minutes. You can then very easily use oven mitts to pull the whole pan of jars out instead of having to fumble around with pulling hot jars out of boiling water. I use tongs to pull the lids off.
My head is no more clear than it was 2 days ago but hey, at least we have preserves!