This post is originally from August, 2009… back when I was actually preserving food. More on that soon, but now a recipe for those overwhelmed with cucumbers.
This past weekend we picked up a few treasures at the farmer’s market, namely 1/2 bushel of pickling cucumbers and a huge bunch of dill taller than my 3 year old. Sunday evening I canned a dozen quarts of dill pickles, which exhausted my dill supply. That left me with about 1/3 of the cucumbers left, but no dill.
Enter the other treasure I found this weekend. At our library’s book sale I found a book called Stocking Up: How to Preserve the Foods you Grow, Naturally. It was put out by the Editors of Organic Gardening and Farming in 1973. Whenever I find a book sale I always look for older books. Looking at my grandmother, I know that back then they knew what they were talking about.
Throughout the entire book there is almost no use of sugar. The jams, jellies, conserves, and pickles all call for honey. I was even more intrigued and ended up finishing my reading and skimming of the book by Saturday evening. So on Monday when I had my pickle dilemma I turned to this new resource. On page 153 I found my solution – Crosscut Pickle Slices. Sweet and tangy, crunchy and spicy these pickles are delicious.
Honestly, I couldn’t tell you the difference between these and bread and butter pickles. My husband, who I had no idea was a sweet pickle fan, said "these are as good as grocery store pickles!" I wasn’t sure whether to take that as a compliment or an insult, but I was glad to see his smiling face going back for more.
It always makes me laugh when he is shocked that something produced in our own home can taste "like the ones from the grocery store." I suppose that is the product of our generation – a bunch of 20 somethings who think good pickles come from the grocery store, not the home.
Crosscut Pickle Slices
Recipe Notes: I am not much of a recipe follower, but when it comes to canning I try to be. I did, however, skip the draining of the washed cucumbers, the ice on top of the salted cucumbers and the celery seeds – I had none. Also because this book is older you may want to consult current canning time recommendations, I am not a canning expert by any means.
- 4 quarts cucumbers, medium-size, sliced (about 6 pounds)
- 1 1/2 cups onions, sliced
- 2 large garlic cloves
- 1/3 cup salt
- 2 quarts ice cubes or chips
- 2 cups honey
- 1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric
- 1 1/2 teaspoons celery seeds
- 2 tablespoons mustard seeds
- 3 cups white vinegar
- Wash cucumbers thoroughly and scrub with a vegetable brush. Drain on rack. Slice unpeeled cucumbers into 1/8 to 1/4 inch slices; discard ends. Add onions and garlic.
- Add salt and mix thoroughly, cover with crushed ice or ice cubes and let stand three hours. Drain thoroughly and remove garlic.
- Combine honey, spices (in a spice bag), and vinegar. Heat just until boiling. Add drained cucumber and onion slices and simmer for 5 minutes. DO NOT BOIL.
- Pack hot pickles loosely in clean, hot pint jars, leaving a half-inch head space. Seal. Process in boiling-water bath for 5 minutes, starting to count processing time as soon as the water in the canner returns to boiling. Remove jars and complete seals. Set jars upright on wire rack a few inches apart to cool.
What are you preserving these days?