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Home Ec Projects:
Preserving Cucumbers

There is basically one way of preserving cucumbers and that is by “pickling.” The following activities will give you the opportunity to try your hand at this ancient method of preservation. Before canning, please be sure and complete the lesson on canning safety and always maintain safe food handling practices.

Easy Ice Water Cucumber Pickles

Ingredients:
6 to 6½ dozen gherkins (do not peel)
Ice water
6 T. pickling salt
6 T. mixed pickling spices
12 T. sugar
2 to 3 white onions, peeled & sliced thin
3 qts. boiling white vinegar

Cover gherkins with ice water and let stand 3 to 4 hours, replenishing ice as needed. Wash and sterilize six quart jars and closures, stand on a baking sheet, and keep warm in a 250 F oven until needed. Drain cucumbers and pack into hot jars, filling to within ¼" of the top. Add 1 T. salt, 1 T. pickling spice, and 2 T. sugar to each jar, top with 1 to 2 slices onion, and fill to within ¼" of the top with vinegar. Wipe rims and seal. Process in hot water bath 10 minutes. Store in a cool, dark, dry place 4 to 6 weeks before serving. Yield: 6 quarts.

Cucumber Relish

Ingredients:
2 qts. chopped cucumbers
2 c. chopped sweet green peppers
2 c. chopped sweet red peppers
1 c. chopped onions
½ c. salt
2 qts. cold water
1 ½ c. brown sugar
2 sticks cinnamon
1 T. mustard seed
1 T. turmeric
2 t. whole allspice
2 t. whole cloves
1 qt. vinegar

Combine cucumbers, peppers and onion, sprinkle with turmeric. Dissolve salt in 2 quarts cold water and pour over vegetables; let stand 3 to 4 hours. Drain; cover vegetables with cold water and let stand one hour. Drain thoroughly. Tie spices in a cheesecloth bag; add to sugar and vinegar. Bring to a boil and pour over vegetables. Coverand let stand 12 to 18 hours in a cool place. Bring vegetables to a boil; simmer until hot. Pack hot into hot jars, leaving quarter inch headspace. Adjust caps. Process 10 minutes in boiling water bath. Yield: about 6 pints.

Sweet Chunk Pickles

Ingredients:
2½ lbs. 3" to 4" cucumbers
½ c. canning salt
½ c. vinegar
2 qts. Water
6 c. sugar
1 stick cinnamon
1½ t. whole cloves
1½ t. mixed pickling spices
3 c. vinegar

Wash and dry cucumbers. Put cucumbers in a clean pickling container. Add salt and half cup vinegar to 2 quarts water. Bring to a boil; cool. Pour over cucumbers. Weight cucumbers under brine. Cover and let stand 2 weeks in a cool place. Drain, discarding brine, and cut cucumbers into 1" chunks. cover with cold water; let stand 24 hours. Rinse well and drained. Tie spices in a cheesecloth bag; add to remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil; pour over cucumbers. Let stand 24 hours. Drain, reserving pickling liquid. Bring pickling liquid to a boil and pour over pickles. Let stand 24 hours. Repeat the last step three times. Pack pickles into hot jars, leaving quarter inch headspace. Remove spice bag. Bring pickling liquid to a boil. Pour hot liquid over pickles, leaving quarter inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Adjust caps. Process pints and quarts 15 minutes in boiling water bath. Yield: about 3 pints.

Mustard Pickles

Ingredients:
1½ lbs. 3" to 4" cucumbers, cut into ½” slices
1 qt. green tomato wedges
3 c. cauliflowerets
3 c. chopped sweet green peppers
3 c. chopped sweet red peppers
2 c. peeled pickling onions
1 c. canning salt
4 qts. water
1½ c. sugar
½ c. flour
1 T. turmeric
5 c. vinegar
½ c. prepared mustard
½ c. water

Dissolve salt in 4 quarts water. Pour over prepared vegetables and let stand 12 to 18 hours in a cool place. Drain; rinse and drain thoroughly. Combine sugar, flour and turmeric in a large saucepot. Add water gradually, stirring until smooth. Add mustard and vinegar. Cook until sauce coats spoon and mixture thickens. Add vegetables. Simmer 15 minutes. Pack hot into hot jars, leaving quarter inch head space. Remove air bubbles. Adjust caps. Process pints and quarts 10 minutes in boiling water bath. Yield: about 8 pints.

Cabin Cucumber Catsup

Wash 6 large (6") cucumbers. Cover and let stand in cold water 2 hours. Drain, grate or grind into a bowl. Add about 1 cup vinegar (cider), 1 medium sized onion (grated/ground), 3/4 t. freshly ground pepper, 1 t. salt. Mix and press through a sieve. Put in covered jar and keep cold. Serve on cold meats.

Sour Pickles

Ingredients:
2 quarts and 1 c. vinegar
½ c. honey
2 T. whole allspice
2 T. mustard seeds
½ t. powdered mace
4 lbs. cucumbers, washed, trimmed and cut into 2" lengths
4 sticks of cinnamon
4 bay leaves
12 peppercorns
8 cloves garlic
8 spears horseradish, 3" x 1½"

Combine vinegar, horseradish spears, and honey in a medium-sized enamel or stainless steal pan. Place allspice, mustard seeds, and mace in a cheesecloth bag. Drop spice bag in vinegar mixture and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Distribute cucumber chunks, cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, peppercorns and garlic evenly among hot, scalded 4 quart canning jars. Remove horseradish spears from vinegar mixture and divide evenly among jars. Pour the simmered mixture into the jars, taking care to cover all pieces of cucumber, but leaving ½" headspace. Seal and process 10 minutes in a boiling water bath. Yield: 4 quarts.

Kosher Dills

Ingredients:
4½ white vinegar
4½ c. water
14 cloves garlic
7 grape leaves
7 spears horseradish (3" x 1½”)
4 lbs. cucumbers (4" long)
14 sprigs fresh dill
7 t. mustard seeds
21 peppercorns
7 whole cloves

Wash, dry, and cut cucumbers lengthwise. In a medium sauscepan boil together vinegar, water, and garlic. Reserve garlic. Meanwhile, place one grape leaf and one horseradish spear into each hot, scalded pint jar. Place cucumbers into jars. To each jar add two sprigs dill, 1 t. mustard seeds, three peppercorns, and one clove. Pour boiling liquid into jars, allowing ¼” headspace. Add two cloves reserved garlic to each jar. Cover and turn once to disperse spices. Seal and process in boiling-water bath 15 minutes. Yield: 7 pints.

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