Vegan, Paleo, Grain Free, Dairy Free
- Prep: 1 day
- Cook: 25 minutes
- Inactive: 3 months
- Yield: ~6 Quarts
Cucumber Basic Brine
- 3/4 cup of pickling salt to 1 gallon of tap water. This yields a 5% brine.
Soak whole (do not cut them into slices for the brine) cucumbers overnight in the brine in a very cool location, preferably a refrigerator. If you have lots of cucumbers, make more brine.
The following Pickling Solution will be added to each jar and is approximate for about 6 quarts of pickles. You should have some left when done, but don’t save it.
- 6 cups white vinegar
- 3/4 cup pickling salt
- 10 cups of water
- 2 tablespoons of pickling spice (Penzeys preferred) in a pickling bag
The night before canning combine the vinegar, salt, water and pickling spice (in bag) in a large pot and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and let stand until the next morning or until you’re ready to can. When you’re ready to can, bring vinegar mixture back to a boil. You can remove and discard the spice filled pickling bag at this time. I clean and reuse the bag.
Slice and pack the cucumbers into jars. Add the following spices to each jar.
- 2 tsp mustard seed
- 2 cloves (or more) of sliced fresh garlic
- 2 Tbsp dill seed (3 fresh dill heads would be better. If using fresh dill, then place in the jar before adding cukes.)
- 1/4 tsp black peppercorns
- Optional: other spices/herbs, such as jalapeno pepper if you like
First determine how many jars you are going to bathe at one time and then prepare a boiling hot water bath. The container that I use has a bottom grate, which holds the jars slightly elevated. I can do about 6 jars at a time. You want to make sure that when you’ve got the jars in the bath that the water level goes up to about 2/3 of the height of the jar. A little more or less is OK, but don’t submerge them or use too little water. Do a cold water test run of your canning jars to get the water level right.
After you’ve got the above determined, bring the bath to a boil awaiting the filled, sealed jars. Fill each jar with the cucumbers and spices as indicated above. Using a canning wide mouth funnel add boiling pickling solution to each jar (being very careful not to burn yourself) to within about 1/2 inch of the top of the jar. You need this expansion clearance. Make sure that the jar rim is clean, then add canning lids and bands. Tighten bands finger tight only. Turn jars once to disperse spices.
Add the jars to the boiling water bath using a canning jar holder. The boiling water will cool below boiling very quickly. Make sure that the stove burner is on high to return the bath to boiling as fast as possible. When the bath starts boiling again, let the jars remain in bath for about 15 minutes. Remove from bath (again using the jar holder) and allow to cool. If you live above 1,000 feet altitude you will need to look up the time adjustment for your altitude.
After the jars have cooled and the lids have collapsed (you’ll hear a slight pop), label each jar. You can loosen (good idea) the bands after the jars have thoroughly cooled. The lids are doing the sealing and loosening the bands now will make it easier to open later. You can eat the canned goods at any time, but I find that if you allow about 3 months or more time to pass, then you’re into a real delicacy. Store in a cool place until ready to open and consume, the cupboard is fine. Once the jars have been opened you’ll need to refrigerate them.
Printed in Real Food Health Magazine | May / June 2016
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