Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Canning Cukes

In a pickle because you’ve got more cucumbers than hungry mouths to eat them? Ben Franklin said, “Hunger is the best pickle.” I’m not sure exactly what that means, but why not save some of those cukes for later? Carla Emery has two fabulous pickle recipes that are sure to satisfy any craving.

Garlic Dill Pickles

Season: Mid- to late summer

Yield: 6 to 7 pints

Store: Cool, dark pantry

4 pounds pickling cucumbers, about 4 inches long, scrubbed and cut in half lengthwise

14 cloves garlic, split in half (28 halves)

G cup pickling or other fine, noniodized salt

2I cups cider vinegar

3 cups water

14 heads fresh dill weed

28 peppercorns

Heat the garlic, salt, vinegar, and water to boiling. Remove the garlic and place 4 halves in each hot, sterilized jar (if the cucumbers fill only 6 jars, add the remaining halves to 4 of the jars). Pack the cucumbers into the jars and divide the dill and peppercorns evenly among them.

Pour the hot vinegar solution over the cucumbers, allowing H inch headspace. Adjust the lids. Follow water-bath canning instructions (page 34) and process for 10 minutes. Store for at least 6 weeks before serving.

Bread-and-Butter Pickles

Season: Mid- to late summer

Yield: 7 to 9 pints

Store: Cool, dark pantry

6 pounds pickling cucumbers, cut into J-inch slices

H cup pickling or other fine noniodized salt

Crushed ice

4 cups cider vinegar

4 cups sugar

2 teaspoons celery seed

1 tablespoon whole allspice

2 tablespoons mustard seed

Combine the cucumbers and salt in a mixing bowl and mix. Completely cover with the ice and let stand for 3 to 4 hours. Drain thoroughly, picking out any remaining unmelted ice.

Bring the vinegar, sugar, celery seed, allspice, and mustard seed to a boil in an 8-quart saucepan, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Simmer uncovered for 5 minutes. Add the cucumber slices to the vinegar syrup and return to a simmer; stir gently to make sure heat is evenly distributed throughout the mixture.

Carefully ladle the pickles into hot, sterilized jars, allowing H inch headspace. Follow water-bath canning instructions (page 34) and process for 10 minutes. Store for a least a month and then refrigerate before serving.

Variation: For traditional bread-and-butter pickles with onions, add 1 cup peeled and thinly sliced small white onions along with the cucumbers to the vinegar syrup and proceed with instructions.

And if you’re looking for more ideas for your garden veggies, check out the Fresh From the Garden Cookbook

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