Thursday, July 21, 2011
ICICLE PICKLES HOMEMADE FROM MY "FARM"
I have a little vegetable garden which is planted with a few cucumber vines, a half-dozen tomatoes, some pole beans and a couple zucchini, plus lots of herbs. Just this week, in this heat, the cucumbers have grown like crazy, and I picked more than 5 pounds.
I found an easy recipe for "Icicle Pickles" in my old standby, the "Heinz Guide to Successful Pickling", easy because it calls for only a few ingredients and a quick method.
The batch recipe called for 3 pounds cucumbers, trimmed and cut into spears, one large sweet onion, cut into 6 pieces, 6 (4 inch) pieces of celery, 1 tablespoon mustard seed, 1 quart white vinegar, 2-1/2 cups sugar, 1/4 cup pickling salt, and 1 cup water.
I had six wide mouth pint jars and lids on hand, so I washed them thoroughly, and put them aside. I washed the cucumbers in the sink with a vegetable brush to get rid of the spines and dirt, always wash the produce really well. Then I cut the cukes into spears, and put them in the crock and covered them with ice water to rest for a couple of hours, while I ate dinner.
After dinner, I drained the cucumbers and packed them cold into the jars, adding to each a piece of celery and of onion, and a 1/2 teaspoon of mustard seed. The advantage of the wide mouth jars is that it is easy and quick to pack them. In the meantime, the vinegar, sugar and salt and water were put into a pot to boil.
Filled the jars with the hot pickle solution and wiped the rims clean, put on the lids and rings. They were processed 10 minutes in the boiling water canner and then removed and left to cool. All of them sealed ( the lid flattens down), which is good! but I will have to wait a day or so to open one and taste the pickles. They do look very nice, don't they?