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Today I jarred my fermented dill pickles.  They have been hanging out in the utility room, doing their pickle thing, since Labor Day (19 days).  A few hours ago, I gently lifted the jar out of its little spot on the shelf, carried it into the big kitchen, took out the water weight that’s been holding everything down in the brine… and smelled a jar of pickles.  They smelled salty and pickle-y.  I made R come take a look and watch as I took a bite of one– it tasted like a pickle.  Woo hoo!  It tasted pretty good, actually.  I was and am a little bit proud of myself, and I am so incredibly excited that they are “done”.  But… I am stone-cold terrified of these pickles.

That’s right.  What if I did them wrong? What if, instead of pickles, I have little hyper-bacterial cucumbers in my jars?  Will I ever dare to let anyone try them?  Am I going to die in my sleep from improperly-fermented pickle poisoning?  I really hope not.  I still have apple butter to make, and we’re having a friend over tomorrow.

This is a good reminder for me that canning is serious business– fun, fun, fun and highly rewarding, but serious business.  I am vigilant with every step when I put food into a jar and then prepare it to sit in an non-refrigerated cupboard for months, maybe a year.  I think the pickles are probably 100% fine, as I was careful and vigilant with that process, too.  Maybe I am not terrified of them after all; perhaps it is more that I am in awe of a truly cool process, turning regular old cucumbers into something more.  I hope that’s the case, because I would really like to share them with my friends and family, though I only made 5 precious jars.

Stay tuned for a more detailed account of the whole fermenting process…