What does one do when one's garden produces bunches of cucumbers? Make pickles, of course! My hubby found a Better Homes & Gardens recipe in his mom's recipe binder which we modified by using less sugar.
It had been years since we'd canned, but we remembered the steps, and every jar had a successful seal. We've already begun sharing the resulting product with our friends and have received rave reviews.
Makes 8 to 9 pints
Plan on spending an afternoon of slicing and dicing before the actual canning. Mixture has to sit for three hours before canning.
8 pint jars, 8 unused lids and metal screw bands, slicer, tongs, ladle, funnel, large bowl, a least one large pot
4 quarts thin-sliced cucumbers (We used both regular and lemon cucumbers)
1 quart sliced onions
3 cups cauliflowerets (We sliced the larger ones.)
1 green pepper, chopped (We used a red pepper for contrast.)
3 cloves garlic
⅓ cup coarse kosher salt
4 cups crushed ice
2 cups sugar (more if you like your pickles really sweet.)
1½ teaspoons celery seed
2 tablespoons mustard seed
1½ teaspoon turmeric
3 cups cider vinegar
Note: Next time I plan to add some corn kernels too.
1. In a large bowl, combine vegetables, garlic, salt, and the ice. Mix well.
2. Put a weight on top and allow to stand 3 hours.
3. Drain the vegetables well and transfer to a large cooking pot.
4. Combine remaining ingredients and pour over the vegetables.
5. Bring the mixture to simmer.
6. While waiting for the mixture to to reach the desired temperature, put clean canning jars in a pan of water and bring to boil. Once the jars are hot, place the sealing lids in the water too.
7. One at a time, place the funnel over the mouth of a hot jar and carefully ladle in hot mixture leaving a ½-inch space at the top.
8. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Apply band and hand tighten.
9. For extra security, you may place the sealed jars in a canner or other large pot that covers the jars with at least two inches of water. Let boil for 15 minutes before removing to cool. (We did not take this step.)
10. Once the jars are cool, check for sealing by pressing a finger in the middle of the lid. If it stays depressed, the sealing is secure. Put on labels.
For best flavor, allow pickles to stand for 4 to 6 weeks.
Good cooking to you!
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