This was a “making pickles” summer. It has been about four years since I made pickles and we were running out of several kinds. My latest batch of pickles was a 2-in-one-day marathon. I made Christmas pickles and Grandma’s Pickles. The Christmas Pickles recipe came from an old Farm Journal Freezing and Canning Cookbook, published back in 1963, 1964. If you can find this used book, snatch it up because it is full of good recipes from farm housewives. ( I used six red sweet peppers instead of half green ones. I also chopped the red peppers instead of just slicing them. All the vegetables were from the garden, except the celery.) I’m including both recipes for your pickling pleasure.
10 ripe cucumbers, peeled and diced
1/2 cup canning salt
3 large red sweet peppers, seeded and cut in strips
3 large green sweet peppers, seeded and cut in strips
4 cups diced celery
2 medium onions, diced
5 cups sugar
1 quart (4 cups) vinegar
2 teaspoons mustard seeds
1 cup water
Place the cucumber chunks in a large stainless steel or ceremic bowl. Sprinkle with the salt. Cover and let stand overnight. Next day, drain well. Place the vinegar, sugar, water, and mustard seeds in a large pot. Stir to mix. Place drained cucumbers into pot and add the rest of the chopped vegetables. Heat to boiling; reduce heat; cook slowly until cucumbers look transparent. (Do not overcook.) Ladle into hot, sterilized jars; seal at once. Process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Makes about 9-10 pints.
The Grandma’s Pickles recipe came from Jackie Clay’s Growing and Canning Your Own Food, which is published by and available from Backwoods Home Magazine. I highly recommend this book, if you do any gardening or canning. At first glance these pickles look the same because of the sweet red peppers I used, but if you look closely, you can see the slices, instead of chunks. Also, the seasoning is very different.
8 cups sliced, unpeeled cucumbers
2 cups sliced onions (I chopped mine.)
3 chopped green peppers (I used red ones.)
1/3 cup canning salt
2 cups vinegar
3 cups sugar
2 teaspoons celery seed
2 teaspoons turmeric
1 cinnamon stick, about 3 inches long
Combine the vegetables with salt and let stand for an hour. Drain well. (While the vegetables are sitting in the salt, I did the next step.) Combine remaining ingredients, except vegetables, in a large pot and bring to a boil. Simmer 1/2 hour. Remove cinnamon stick. Add vegetables. Just bring to a boil, then pack immediately into hot, sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch of headspace. (I leave 1/2 inch.) Remove air bubbles. (Run a knife gently around the inside of the jar.) Wipe rim of jar clean; place hot, previously-simmered lids on jar, and screw down rigs firmly tight. Process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath canner.