Crispy Sweet Pickles with tips from my mother.
This recipe is what I grew up with. I'd eat these pickles plain on saltine crackers, on hamburgers, or any other way I could get them.
25 to 30 small cucumbers (less amount for larger ones)
1 cup pickling lime
1 gallon water
8 cups vinegar
8 cups sugar
2 teaspoons whole cloves
1 teaspoon canning salt
Thoroughly wash cucumbers. Slice crosswise, 1/8 inch thick. Place in a glass or other non-aluminum container.
Dissolve lime in water (use non-aluminum container.) Pour over cucumbers. Let set for 24 hours. (The pickling lime package says to refrigerate, but I have been making these for over 20 years and have always let them set on the counter.)
Drain cucumbers -- NOT INTO SINK. (If you have plants that like limy soil as opposed to acid, pour the lime water around them.) Rinse in clear, cool water 4 times, making sure to remove all the lime. Handle carefully as they are brittle. Cover with clear, cool water and let stand for three hours. Drain. Set aside.
Mix vinegar, sugar, cloves, and salt until sugar is dissolved. Pour over cucumber slices. Let stand overnight.
Place cucumbers and syrup in a large pot; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 35 minutes. (Meanwhile sterilize jars.) Ladle cucumbers and syrup into sterilized jars, leaving 1/2 inch head space. Remove air bubbles with non-metal tool. Add more liquid if needed. Wipe rim and threads of jar. Cap each jar according to directions with lids.
Process in boiling water bath: pints 5 minutes; quarts 10 minutes. (The new FDA guidelines recommend 10 minutes for pints and 15 for quarts.)
Makes about 10 pints or 5 quarts.
1. check your jars for nicks around the rim
2. use new lids -- the flat pieces
3. you can reuse the rings, but no rusty ones.
4. wash jars, rings and lids in hot soapy water, rinse well.
5. I always sterilize the jars before filling -- this is easy to do. Fill the canner with water, put the jars in, bring to a boil, reduce heat to keep it at a gentle rolling boil for 15 min. Do this while the pickles are boiling.
6. Leave the jars in the hot water with the burner off until ready to fill.
7. Take the jars out one at a time, dumping at least a part of the water into another container (if you dump all the water back into the canner, it will be too full) and fill them with pickles following recipe directions.
8. Be sure to wipe the top edge and the outside "screw rings" with a clean wet cloth before putting the lids and rings on.
9. Follow the directions that come on the box of lids about heating them before use.
10. Screw the rings firmly tight, but not over-tight, and place back in the canner of hot water.
11. Always place hot jars on a folded towel and not the bare counter; the cold against the hot jar could cause the jar to crack.
This recipe has a little story... I first tried an onion-ginger relish at the Cheddar Gorge cheese factory, absolutely loved it and bought a jar. Their website is here. I shared around at Christmas and New Year's. But it finally went bad, so I started looking for a recipe, and finally found this one. 200 versions of watermelon rind pickles on the web, but only one onion-ginger relish.
2 large quartered onions (I used 10 pearl onions because that's what I've got from my garden so far)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar (I didn't have that, and the bought jar listed apple cider vinegar, so I used 2 T apple cider vinegar, 2 T red wine vinegar)
1 piece (2 inches long) ginger root, peeled, chopped
1/2 apple, chopped, optional (I didn't use; not in the bought stuff)
1 tablespoon whole coriander, crushed,Or 1 teaspoon ground OPT (I didn't use; the bought jar said "spices" but I generally don't like coriander)
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 sprig fresh thyme (I used 1/2 tsp dried - I planted some thyme this spring, but either it didn't make it, or it morphed into oregano)
Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Place onions in baking dish; toss with oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste; bake until softened, stirring once, about 45 minutes. Let cool; slice. (I just chopped the onions coarsely and cooked in skillet over low heat with oil, salt and pepper.)
Place onions and remaining ingredients in medium saucepan. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 10 minutes. Serve hot, chilled or at room temperature. Remove thyme sprig before serving. Makes 2 cups.
(We did the official tasting today, and liked it quite well. The only thing is, it's kind of dry. I wonder if I should add water before the simmering stage if I decide to make more and can it.)