Pickle Paranoia (are these safe?)
I just made a batch of pickles yesterday based on a recipe from Joy of Cooking (they haven't had any canning info for one or two revisions so it's not current). The main thing I'm worried about is that I left a couple garlic cloves in each jar. I have searched and read the forum but I wanted comments on this regarding botulism and garlic. Here's my process:
I got a 12 pack of quart wide mouth jars. I hand washed them and set them aside. Later I filled them with hot (140 degrees) tap water (from a well). In the meantime the temperature dropped so I ended up just rinsing the jars in hot water before packing them. I then put them (open) in the pressure cooker which had boiling or near boiling water to pre heat the jars somewhat before putting in the boiling or just boiled brine. I think I also packed them too tightly, to me "pack tightly" means just that, but there was no way I could fit a spatula around the edge to remove air like the recipe called for.
The recipe called for 3 cups water to 3 cups vinegar (5% white) to 1/3 cup salt. The recipe did say to boil the garlic in the brine but not put them into the jars. However, many other recipes I found online called for raw garlic in the jars so I put them in anyway (that is, RAW garlic in the jars, not boiled in brine). Also, the pressure canner I used said in the directions it would kill botulism at the higher temperatures so I thought I was being safe, until I saw some garlic warning online, of course right after I spent all day making the pickles!
I picked cucumbers from my garden, they were all larger so I just quartered them and cut them down to size. I did remove the blossom end.
I also put in a couple wild grape leaves (anyone use these?) , a head of fresh dill and 1+ tsp dill seed or pickling spice per quart jar. I then put the lids on, hand tightened them, and processed them in the pressure canner. (I was going to do a boiling water bath but the pressure canner said you could process them for "zero minutes" in the pressure canner and it would take less time. I also decided it would be safer). Anyway, the pressure process involved letting steam escape the valve for 5 minutes, putting the weight on, then waiting till the pressure was reached (ie rocking motion on the weight, it was 15 psi I believe), then immediately turning the heat off and waiting for it to drop pressure before removing.
So my main question is, are these pickles safe with the garlic in them? If the garlic isn't in them, is the recipe safe without garlic? If it ISN'T safe with the garlic, can I get new lids and repack all the jars (removing the garlic) with new brine? (what % should I use?) Will that then be safe as the garlic has only been in a day (how long does it take to produce botulism?) Or will the pressure cooker have processed it enough to removed any possible botulism? After reading more of this forum, now I wonder (if it is safe) if the pickles are all mushy because of the high temp processing.
Or could I just open these an use them as fridge pickles or something now? About how long until these would be ready to eat anyway? Oh yeah, I also made one jar using yellow summer squash instead of cucumbers, are these safe in the brine?