Pickles… the vegetable preserve that we put up in July to October. Plunked on hamburgers, added to our potato salad or just eaten because they taste so good, cucumber pickles are reminders of the taste of high summer. For those of you who like exact measures and exact recipes, sorry to disappoint you. No matter how many times I make pickles, each season’s offering seems to process a little bit differently from the year before. But, each year’s pickles taste the best ever.
So why offer this recipe to you now instead of July? Because you are eating those pickles now, and you just might remember to look back into our archives to retrieve this recipe. If not, we will remind you, in July, that it is here.
Many people are represented in my garden by the plants they have given me. Many people are represented in my kitchen by the recipes they have given me. The following recipe was given to me by a dear friend who lives not only in my heart, but in my kitchen.
Mother Elssa’s Sweet Pickles
A family recipe handed down to my friend Jane Cooper and then handed over to me
30 6″ or so cucumbers, sliced ¼” (Adjust thickness for desired crispness.)
½ c salt
2 medium onions sliced about 3/16-inch (Can use more onions)
Cover with water; let stand for 2 hours; drain
5 c sugar
1 qt white vinegar
1 Tbs mustard seed
1 Tbs celery seed
4 black peppercorns/pint jar.
Heat thoroughly. Add the cucumber slices and heat them through. A shorter heating time will produce a crisper pickle; a longer heating time will produce a softer pickle.
Can the pickles while still hot: Read the latest recommendations for canning cucumber pickles in Extension publications or in the Kerr and Ball Canning Guides. Alternately (for crisper pickles), let the jars cool and refrigerate. Even if a hot water canning bath is not used, lids may seal, but don’t rely on that: refrigerate!!
This recipe makes between 8-10 pints; depends on the size of the cucumbers.