Recipe from James T. Farmer, III, author of A Time to Plant. "My family starts clamoring for my Uncle Hoyt Harwell's pickles--a perfect combination of sweet and savory--as soon as summer's heat gives us cucumbers. I put them on sandwiches and in deviled eggs or just eat them out of the jar."
25 to 30 medium cucumbers (about 9 1/2 lb.)
8 large onions
2 large bell peppers
1/2 cup pickling salt
5 cups white vinegar
4 cups sugar
2 tablespoons mustard seeds
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
How to Make It
Cut cucumbers into 1/4-inch-thick slices and onions into 1/8-inch-thick slices. Chop bell peppers. Place vegetables in a bowl; toss with pickling salt. Let stand 3 hours; drain. Bring vinegar, sugar, mustard seeds, turmeric, and cloves to a boil in a large stockpot, boiling just until sugar dissolves. Add drained cucumber mixture, and cook, stirring often, 7 to 10 minutes or until mixture is thoroughly heated and cucumber peels turn dark green. Pack half of hot mixture in 7 (1-pt.) hot sterilized jars, filling to 1/2 inch from top. Remove air bubbles by gently stirring with a long wooden skewer. Seal and process as directed (see below). Repeat procedure with remaining mixture and 7 more hot sterilized jars.
A Three-Step Guide to Puttin' Up
Yes, it really is that easy. To get started, you'll need a basic canner, a jar lifter, and a canning rack. Look for a 9- or 12-piece canning kit, which will include all of these pieces and more.
Step 1: Sterilize.
Bring a canner half full of water to a boil; simmer. Place jars in a large stockpot with water to cover; bring to a boil, and simmer 10 minutes. Place bands and lids in a large saucepan. (Always use new lids.) Using a ladle, cover bands and lids with hot water from canner to soften gaskets. Let stand 10 minutes.
Step 2: Prepare Recipe.
Meanwhile, prepare recipe. Remove hot jars from stockpot, 1 at a time, using jar lifter, and fill as directed in recipe.
Step 3: Seal & Process.
Wipe rims of filled jars. Cover at once with metal lids, and screw on bands (snug but not too tight). Place jars in canning rack, and place in simmering water in canner. Add more boiling water as needed to cover jars by 1 to 2 inches. Bring water to a rolling boil; boil 10 minutes, adjusting processing time for altitude.* Turn off heat, and let stand 5 minutes. Remove jars from canner, and let stand at room temperature 24 hours. Test seals of jars by pressing centers of lids. If lids do not pop, jars are properly sealed. Store in a cool, dark place at room temperature up to 1 year. Refrigerate after opening.
*Consult the USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning at nchfp.uga.edu/publications/publications_usda.html to adjust processing times for altitude.