There is a cucumber fairy where I work, who has bestowed upon me lbs and lbs of cucumbers. Now there really is only one thing to do when you are gifted an almost overwhelming amount of cucumbers…pickles. This has been the summer of all the pickles. The little ones were made into my Grandma Connie’s fridge pickles, because they are delicious and the best summer snack ever. The larger ones were destined to become canned pickle chips to enjoy this winter.
RECIPE: Pickles, all kinds of Pickles
Makes as many cans as you have cucumbers
Pot Holders (lots)
Hot Pepper Flakes
1) Wash the cucumbers! My favorite method is to fill up one of the kitchen sinks with water and just pour all the cucumbers in. Wash and dry each cucumber individually before setting next to the cutting board.
2) Slice the pickles to your preferred thickness for pickle chips. I make them sandwich thick, which is slightly thicker than hamburger thick.
3) If you use garlic, you will want one or more cloves before can. Remove the skins from the garlic.
4) Use gloves to slice up jalapenos or hot peppers of your choice.
5) For the base of the pickle brine, I use the Ball Blue Book Hamburger Dill recipe. I let my husband read through all the pickle recipes, and this is the one he picked. The ratio is 6 tablespoons salt to 4.5 cups water to 4 cups vinegar.
6) Sterilize your jars and bring the brine to a boil at the same time.
7) The original recipe calls for mustard seeds, dill heads, and peppercorns to season the mixture. Other pickle recipes in my canning books also used bay leaves for more of a kosher style, hot pepper flakes for a bit of spice, some garlic for a kick, and even fresh hot peppers. When I ran out of mustard seeds, I switched over to the mustard powder which is what I use in the dilly beans as well.
8) Fill each jar with pickle slices and add the mix of seasonings that you desire. I insist that peppercorns go into each batch, but have fun mixing up the flavors. The herbs in the quantities you add won’t impact the acidity of the brine, so have fun!
9) Fill the jars with the hot brine, leaving a 1/2 inch head space. Use a spoon or knife to make sure all the bubbles are remove from the jars before processing.
10) Process pint jars for 15 minutes and quarts for 20 minutes in a boiling water canner.
11) Let cool over night and then make sure all of the jars are properly sealed before labeling and storing in a cool dark place.
The worse part about canned pickles is that you have to wait 6 weeks before you crack open the first jar. I am excited to see how all the different combination of pickle flavors will come out this winter, and hopefully it will help me narrow down my favorite combinations for next year!