I've never tried my hand at pickling, but it's one of those Important Homesteading Skillz I've always wanted to learn, like milking a goat (done it, not good at it) or shoeing a horse (haven't had time to squeeze in farrier school). So it was with sheer delight that I received a box containing a mason jar of homemade pickles from my best cowgirl from Austin, Miss Ash. Ash is one part Annie Oakley to two parts Sissy Hankshaw (minus the big thumbs), baked, frosted, and served with a shot of whiskey. When it comes to canning, she's a hardcore, no-frills Texan, and if she says anyone can make damn good pickles, then by god, anyone can make damn good pickles. Here's her fail-proof recipe:
GREAT AUNT BETTY'S BREAD & BUTTER PICKLES
**Read directions thoroughly and then set up a pickling station - you don't have to do everything at lightening speed, but this works best when you can jar whilst everything's hot, so try to get an assembly line set up together so you don't waste time.
4 quarts cucumbers, sliced (leave the skin on, wash off any wax if they aren't farm fresh)
3 white onions, sliced
1/3 cup salt
Put ingredients in a bowl and cover with ice water - let stand at least 3 hrs or overnight
Drain well - DO NOT RINSE (rinsing takes off all the salt, which will keep your pickles crunchy)
Put them in a large pot
Make sure your jars and lids are clean and dry
Bake your glass jars in the oven (lowest heat) - you want these hot out of the oven when you pour your pickles in
Boil the flat lids (not the lid rims) in a small pot of water - you want to soften and heat the rubber around the edges to achieve a good seal
5 cups sugar
3 cups apple cider vinegar
1 teas. turmeric (don't use a wooden or plastic spoon that you don't mind taking on the color of turmeric...I'm trying to avoid using the word 'STAIN,' which is a terrible word)
1 1/2 teas. celery seed
2 Tabl. mustard seed
Stir brine well to mix and then pour over sliced cucumbers and onions
Bring to a good, rolling boil (remember, a rolling boil can't be broken by stirring)
Put cucumbers and onions in jars and fill with brine, leaving ~ a quarter inch of space in the jar (I like to just pull a few out of the oven at a time, to make sure they are all hot when you fill them)
Wipe any moisture away from the lip of the jar
Screw lids on as tightly as possible; they should seal within a few minutes (most of the time, you'll hear them pop)
Bread and Butta pickles don't need 3 months to cure like dills, but I like to wait a while so they've got a little more flavor. They are best chilled, so put them in the fridge before you open them.
fascinated with the subject of non-veg pickling.) If pickled hocks is your thing, then go for it- I'm impressed, but I think I'll keep my pickles vegetable-based for now. Happy pickling!