Peter picked a Peck…and so did I: Pickles!!

DSCN2239You’ll never guess how I spent my afternoon yesterday. A hint: it has to do with chickens. Any guesses? If you said “harvesting chickens” you’d be right. But I’m willing to bet not one of you guessed that. But that’s just what I did. The first time ever. And they weren’t my “girls”. The chickensI helped pluck feathers from and get freezer ready were my neighbors’ birds, Erin and Josh Phillips, who live across the road.
I’ll tell you what — after yesterday I understood why farm raised, hand harvested chickens sell at a premium price. So what did I get for helping? Just what I wanted: a lot of chicken feet to make the best stock! 

Now you’d think with all this chicken chatter I’d be sharing a recipe for, well, chicken. But not today. I picked two big baskets of cucumbers so I’ll be making pickles. Maybe you’d like to make some, too. Cucumbers are in season so if you’re not growing them, check out your local farmers’ markets.

Two way bread and butter pickles

This recipe calls for canning salt, which has no additives. You can go ahead and use regular salt, also. 

Ingredients

4 pounds cucumbers, cut into 1/4” slices, unpeeled

1-1/2 to 2 pounds onions, thinly sliced

1/3 cup canning salt

2 cups sugar

2 tablespoons mustard seed

2 teaspoons turmeric

2 teaspoons celery seed

1 teaspoon ginger

1 teaspoon peppercorns

3 cups vinegar, clear or cider, 5% acid

7 pint canning jars with lids

Instructions

Combine cucumber and onions and layer with salt, cover with ice cubes and let stand 1-1/2 hours. Drain, rinse, drain again. 

Combine remaining ingredients in pan and bring to boil. 

Add cucumbers and onions and return to a boil. 

Pack hot pickles and liquid into hot jars, leaving 1/4” headspace. Remove air bubbles by running knife around inside edges. Clean rims with wet, clean cloth.

Adjust two piece caps.

Let cool to room temperature before refrigerating. 

You don’t need to process these if you are storing in the refrigerator but if you are going to store them in the pantry, it’s a good idea to do that by processing 10 minutes in boiling water bath. 

Tip:

When canning pickles, use new flat seals. The rings can be reused.

“Washtub pickles”

From reader Donna Woods, who sent the original recipe years ago. I still get requests for it. Donna’s family mixed it up in a laundry tub! When you first mix these, they may look a bit dry, but as the pickles sit the juices flow. Tastes like a mild bread and butter pickle. Very crisp!

Ingredients and instructions

Pickles:

Mix together:

3 quarts thinly sliced cucumbers

2 cups thinly sliced green peppers

2 cups thinly sliced onions

2 cups thinly sliced carrots

2 red bell peppers, chopped (opt)

Brine:

Mix together until sugar dissolves:

2 tablespoons celery seed

3 cups sugar

1/3 cup salt

2 cups clear or cider vinegar

Pour brine over veggies. Let sit several hours on counter, stirring every once in a while. Store in jars in refrigerator.

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