Saturday, July 5, 2014

Sweet cucumber and onion pickles

I was able to save up enough cucumbers to make 8 pints of my favorite pickles!  Here are some pictures and the recipe follows.  I have such nice memories of making these pickles.  The first year I did it was in 1976 in Nebraska.  We lived way out in the country.  I didn't have a car, so when we needed to go to town, I would wait for my husband to take us.  In those days we did grocery shopping once a month when he got paid.  He was working on a hog farm at the time.  I was a stay-at-home mother with 3 little children, one just a few weeks old.  He was such a "good" baby that canning (my first year of canning!) was not hard to do.  In those days, and until relatively recently, I cut the onions and cucumbers by hand with a knife.  It took quite a lot of time, but I enjoyed it.  Just a few years ago, I realized I could cut them in the food processor I have now, and so that phase of the process is SO easy and fast! 
I used 6 pounds of cucumbers and some onions.  I didn't weigh the onions (sorry), but you can sort of see how much there was.  These are all fresh out of our garden.

You have to cut the little ends off the cucumbers.  In the blossom end there is some sort of enzyme or something that you don't want in your pickles.  Don't ask me why.  I don't have any idea.

Here you can see my food processor with the appropriate blade inserted.  I use the one that makes the largest slices.  Even at that, they are small.

 The onions all nicely sliced up,

 
...and then I sliced the cucumbers.

Here everything is in the kettle with vinegar, sugar and spices.  

Hot pickles in the jars

 All finished!

Sweet Cucumber and Onion Pickles - makes 8 pints.

6 pounds cucumbers, washed, trimmed and sliced
Sliced onions - maybe 1 - 2 pounds
2 fresh garlic cloves

1/3 cup salt
3 trays of ice cubes or crushed ice
3 cups white distilled vinegar
4.5 cups sugar
1.5 teaspoons turmeric
1.5 teaspoons celery seed
2 Tablespoons mustard seed
Combine all of the vegetables in a large bowl (glass, stainless or ceramic)

Add the salt and mix well.
Place the ice all over the top and cover with a clean cloth.
Allow to sit for 3 hours.
Drain all in a colander and remove the garlic.
Mix together, in a heavy-bottomed pot, the vinegar, sugar and spices. 
Bring to a boil.
Add the drained vegetables and heat on high heat, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes.
Fill pint jars with the pickles, leaving 1 inch head space, and pour the hot liquid over them to within 1/2 inch of the top.
Carefully wipe off the rims of the jars.  Apply hot caps and the rings, finger tight.
Process in boiling water for 5 minutes.
Allow to cool thoroughly, and then if you wish you can take off the rings.
These are very good pickles.  I would let them sit for a few weeks before tasting.  Such a nice bright flavor with a heavy meal in the wintertime.  I don't go in for sweet much anymore, but pickles and a little jam I still enjoy.   

Please consult a Reliable Canning Guide if you do not already know how to can food.


12 comments:

  1. I love homemade pickles like these. I use to make pickles "back in the day" and it is one of the canning pleasures I am looking forward to doing again.

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    1. That's so nice! Canning can be so fun and rewarding. Not to mention... my daughter read somewhere recently, "When you grow your own food, it's like printing your own money." :)

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  2. Oh my gosh, those look so good! I love sweet pickles. Yummm...

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  3. I have been following you for more than a year. You LIVE what you teach!
    You are the best! I wish we lived by each other--I know we would be friends. The thrifty lifestyle makes me lonely sometimes.Have a great week!

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    1. Thank you, Desiree! How kind you are. I live in southeastern Indiana. Where are you?

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    2. Mesa, AZ!! HOT! HOT! HOT! But I garden and stay outside all fall, WINTER, and spring. I love it. I grew up in Oklahoma. I have been DDDIRT pooor all of my life so I am a frugal queen. I am halfway through raising (and homeschooling) my 10 children and I am also LDS!

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    3. Oh my goodness! That is so wonderful that you can garden there. I surely would like to know more about it. Our oldest daughter lives in North Las Vegas and gardening has been a real struggle there. We homeschooled for a number of years too and have 6 children! If you don't mind, it would be so fun to email. Mine is ilovekefir@hotmail.com

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  4. Hello new friend!!
    We have A LOT in common and could probably talk about anything!
    It took me six years to figure out how to garden in AZ. I have learned that if there are mysteries I cannot solve I study what the local indians used to do! So I copied them and dig my garden area into a pit-- two to three feet. Then I layer in our kitchen scraps with dirt and manure, etc. and water and because of the heat I compost quickly, directly in the garden! I love gardening when there are no bugs or weeds (fall, winter and early spring)!
    My new garden goal-- figure out the best cheapest mulch. First I will try junk mail and cardboard. (Growing up in Oklahoma it blows my mind that there are NO trees here and I cannot get leaves!! That was one of my grandfathers big gardening secrets. He would dig 3 foot pits, fill it half way with leaves and then plant his successful tomatoes.
    Sincerely, Desiree Hulsey

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    1. How odd that my email address won't work! How very wise to study the ancient ways of doing things. I wish I could see pictures of your pit garden. That is very interesting about your grandfather's tomato pits. That would not work here. They'd fill up part way with water! :) Also, my husband used to chop up the leaves from our rather large yard and put them on the garden in the fall. That was lovely humus making stuff, but it also eventually turned the soil so acid that one year our garden was a complete failure! We had to apply lots of lime and wait until the next year to plant. Now he just chops up the leaves as he mows and leaves them in the yard. We have had to cut down a number of our big old trees in recent years, so it is not quite so much of a problem. I know what you mean about lack of leaves. We lived in Utah on a hog farm for 4 years and if I found a stick, it was a prize possession! If you would like to send me your email address on a comment, I will not publish it, and then maybe we can get in touch more easily. Lovely to hear from you. I suppose right now not much is going on in your garden? Yolanda

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  5. I stumbled across your blog today in search of canning peaches w/o syrup and then this pickle recipe. Thank you for sharing your recipes! Do these pickles stay pretty crispy when you open them without putting Pickle Crisp or a grape leaf in the jar? (that is the reason you cut off of the blossom end too - to help keep them more crisp). And I live in Nebraska all my life - so it's fun to hear your farm comments! Thank you again!

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    1. Welcome! These are the "bread and butter" pickles, as others call them. They are kind of crunchy, but I would not keep them for more than a year. They do lose quality over time. We love them! :)

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