The mild weather combined with plenty of rain has made the garden grow and grow! Cucumbers have been plentiful this year and once again, I decided to can them. Each year I try a different method of making pickles. But looking for a quicker or easier way doesn’t always work out. It seems that each year, I end up with mushy pickles. Yuck!
With early and abundant cucumbers, I tried a cultured pickle method that was quick and easy. Although the taste was quite delicious, again, the pickle itself turned to mush. So, I went back to the drawing board and pulled out an old Southern style recipe. A time-honored traditional method that resulted in crisp sweet/sour pickles
Some of you have asked how to can pickles and many of you have tasted my pickles finding them pretty tasty. So, here it is:
Canning Pickles, the Old-Fashioned Way.
- Wash and slice about 7 pounds of cucumbers. I use a variety of sizes so they add up pretty quickly. But 7 pounds is about thirty medium to small cucumbers.
- Place 2 gallons of of cold water in a large, non-aluminum stock pot or deep pan. Add sliced cucumbers and one cup of pickling lime.
- Cover and soak overnight in the lime/water mixture
- The next morning, rinse your cucumbers throughly three times in cold water.
- Place your rinsed cucumbers in an ice water bath for three hours.
- While you cucumbers are soaking, gather your supplies. You will need:
- Another non-aluminum deep stockpot or canner with rack. I use a round baking rack in the bottom of my pot.
- Six clean quart size jars with lids and rings. I usually wash mine in dishwasher the day before.
- Eight cups of white cider vinegar and eight cups of granulated sugar
- 1 TBsp of canning salt or non-iodized salt of your choice. I use Kosher.
- 2 TBsp of pickling spices and a selection of fresh dill if desired
- Canning tongs or jar lifter and heavy pot holders to handle the hot jars. I use a Ball one designed for that purpose.
- Set aside the pot to be used as the canner for now and prepare the pickling syrup by bringing the vinegar, sugar, spices and salt to a boil until sugar is dissolved and syrup is clear. Remove from heat.
- Drain cucumbers from ice water and pack into syrup mixture. Allow to soak in syrup for 6 hours.
- Once cucumbers have soaked in syrup for at least six hours, its time to get busy.
- Place your clean jars in your canning pot and bring to a boil. I boil my rings and lids in a separate smaller pot for ease of retrieval and to prevent lids from becoming to gummy.
- You do not need to boil lids just yet, I usually wait until the last five or ten minutes before I ladle the pickles in to my jars.
- Bring cucumbers to a boil and turn down to simmer for thirty minutes
- Start you canning pot and bring glass jars to low boil. Turn off heat and cover after ten minutes.
- Once pickles have simmered 30 minutes, turn off heat and drain and remove glass jars and place on another baking rack with cookie tray beneath for easier cleanup in case you spill hot syrup.
- I like to work two jars at a time. So I remove two of the hot jars and ladle the pickles into the jars. Then I fill the jars with hot syrup leaving 1/2 inch of headspace. If using fresh dill or other fresh herbs, place in jar before pickles and syrup.
- Place hot lid and rim on top of jar.
- Continue working in batches until all jars are filled and lids are sealed
- Once jars are filled and lidded, its time to process. Place filled jars back in canner and bring to a boil for another 15 minutes. You may here lids pop before processing. That’s ok..
- Remove filled pickled jars from canner and place on rack. Lids pop or seal as hot liquid cool. You will see an inner depression on the lid that indicates a proper seal. If this does not occur. you can process a bit longer or refrigerate and consume within the next 2-3 weeks. Trust me, these pickles are so tasty, that will not be a problem.
I hope you have enjoyed this post and are willing to try making your own pickles. Canning is a time-honored tradition for preserving the garden’s bounty long after the summer growing season fades into fall.