It’s been a couple weeks since my first try at making pickles and we had 2 more monster cucumbers ready to go. So I decided to try a slightly more complex pickle recipe from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving.
First I rinsed and rubbed the little spikes off the cucumbers, then sliced and quartered them. I threw a few Mini Red Bell Peppers and Thai Hot Peppers in too. I cut the peppers in half, mainly just so I could save those precious seeds! I put all the veggies in a big plastic bowl and set it aside.
I added 2 cups of water, 2 cups white vinegar, 3 tbsp pickling salt, ¼ cup sugar and 2 tbsp pickling mix in a stainless steel pot. I bought a traditional old world pickling spice from a spice shop, but here is a recipe that's pretty standard. I brought this mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally until the sugar and salt dissolved. Then cover the pot and boil for an additional 10 minutes.
I poured this liquid over my veggies, covered it with a plastic bag (the recipe recommended wax paper, but I was out of it) and let it sit until it cooled to room temperature.
While cooling I sterilized 4 pint size mason jars and lids by washing them with soap and then boiling in water for a few minutes. I added about a tbsp of vinegar to the water, because I read somewhere along the way that this helps keep the jars from getting cloudy. I think it worked! In each jar I added: 1 ½ tsp dill seeds plus a few dried dill flower heads from the garden, 1 tsp mustard seed, ¼ tsp pepper corns and a large garlic clove chopped in big chunks.
Once the veggies cooled, I stuffed them into the jars and filled with the pickling mixture leaving ½ inch of space at the top of the jar. I put the lids on and put them in the refrigerator. Now we have to wait 3 weeks and the pickles should be good for at least 3 months. I love pickles! And my house smells amazing right now form all those spices!