Every summer I get the urge to pickle and preserve. I used to have a large garden, so getting produce for my pickling venture was as easy as going out the back door to the garden. This week I went to a Farmers Market and was lucky enough to find just-picked, pickle-sized cucumbers. I could not wait to get home and start the process. I love the crisp, olive-green pickles that are found in the refrigerator section of the food markets and I am hoping that this recipe serves me well. The pickles are not processed in a canner and right away that makes think that they will be crisp and not mushy from the heat of processing. They must be eaten within 3 weeks of the brining period. Now I want to make jams and jellies. Years ago when I made fruit preserves, I heated paraffin wax and poured it over the product in the jar to seal. Now, it is considered unsafe and I need to process them in a canner. My son, John, may remember all the canning and pickling that I did when he was a young boy. I put up hundreds of jars of produce and pickles, some in crocks, and sauerkraut in crocks. I will let you know how the recipe turns out and if anyone out there tries them, let me know your results.
Half-Sours by the Quart
1/4 tsp. black peppercorns, crushed
1/4 tsp. coriander seeds, crushed
1 bay leaf
3 garlic cloves
1 quart 2-4 inch cucumbers
2 dill heads
1 dry red chile, seeded
1 1/2 Tbsp. pickling salt (no substitute here)
3 cups water1 quart jar, cleaned and sterilized
Put peppercorns, coriander, bay, and garlic into a quart jar.
Gently clean the cucumbers, removing blossom ends.
Pack the jar with cucumbers, dill and chile pepper.
Mix the salt in the water, and pour the brine over the cucumbers, leaving 1 1/2 inch head space.
Push a quart freezer bag into the mouth of the jar, and pour the remaining brine into the bag. Seal the bag. Keep the jar at room temperature, with a dish underneath to catch seeping brine.
Within 3 days you should see tiny bubbles rising in the jar.(fermentation has begun).
If scum forms on top of the brine, skim it off daily and rinse off the brine bag. If pickles do not remain covered in brine, add some more brine made in the same proportion of salt to water.
The pickles should be ready within a week, when the bubbles have stopped rising. Skim off
any scum at the top of the jar, cap jar and store the pickles in the refrigerator for 3 days. They will become olive-green and then they must be eaten within 3 weeks, refrigerated all the while.