How to Make Pickles
Pickling cucumbers[/caption] Although we usually think of pickles as cucumbers, "pickling" is actually a canning term that can apply to vegetables, fruit, or any food that undergoes the "pickling process." What is the pickling process? Pickling is fermenting in a brine of salt, or vinegar. Pickling offers a flavorful and easy alternative to canning plain vegetables. They do not need to be pressure canned because they are prepared with vinegar which raises the acid content, thereby avoiding the problem of botulism.
There are fantastic recipes for all kinds of pickled vegetables, relishes, and chutneys that can tickle the taste buds and brighten a winter meal with sparkling fresh flavor. Pickled giardineira (assorted veg), pickled beets with onion, cabbage relish, hot onion chutney, and more can be made in a hot water bath canning procedure. All you need is fresh produce from your farmers’ market, cutting and chopping utensils, a large pot, and canning jars and lids.
Here's an easy recipe for good ol' dill pickles.
- 8 lbs of 3- to 5-inch pickling cucumbers
- 2 gals water
- 1¼ cups canning or pickling salt
- 1½ qts vinegar (5 percent)
- ¼ cup sugar
- 2 quarts water
- 2 tbsp whole mixed pickling spice
- about 3 tbsp whole mustard seed (2 tsp to 1 tsp per pint jar)
- about 14 heads of fresh dill (1½ heads per pint jar) or 4½ tbsp dill seed (1½ tsp per pint jar)
Yield: 7 to 9 pints Procedure: Wash cucumbers. Cut 1/16-inch slice off blossom end and discard, but leave ¼-inch of stem attached. Dissolve ¾ cup salt in 2 gals water. Pour over cucumbers and let stand 12 hours. Drain. Combine vinegar, ½ cup salt, sugar and 2 quarts water. Add mixed pickling spices tied in a clean white cloth. Heat to boiling. Fill jars with cucumbers. Add 1 tsp mustard seed and 1½ heads fresh dill per pint. Cover with boiling pickling solution, leaving ½-inch headspace. Adjust lids and process 15 minutes. Remove and let cool, listening for lids to seal.