Monday, June 29, 2009


Homemade from the garden!

Last week I spent the afternoon making some homemade sweet and spicy pickles with the cucumbers that Derek and I picked from the garden.

The recipe is from Emeril Lagassi. I of course made a few little changes. But here ya go...

  • 3 lbs. pickling cucumbers, sliced 1/4" thick
  • 2 cups sliced white onions (was about 2 med. sized onions)
  • 1/2 cup pickling salt
  • water
  • 3 cups white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons yellow mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • approx. 5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon dried chili flake
  • Pickle Crisp (was listed as optional in the original recipe but I used it)

Tools Needed:

  • Canning jars & lids
  • Canning pot (You can find them usually for around $20) or a large pot with a steamer insert
  • Jar lifter (trust me on this one! You don't want to mess around with FULLY boiling water)
  • Colander
  • Ladle (for spooning hot liquid into the jars)
  • Funnel - I guess this could be an optional tool if you think you can be really neat with a ladle.
  • Clean kitchen towels (these are always a must for me)


  • Mandolin - Knife works fine too. this just gives you perfectly even cuts, and is pretty quick. even for me and I am pretty fast with a knife.
  • Head space tool - you can find this in the canning section of your local kitchen wares store. It is good for measuring head space since different foods require different amounts of space in the jars for expansion etc. The other side you can also use to release any air bubbles that may get trapped.
  • Magnetic jar lifter - I used one just cuz it came with my jar lifter. This is basically a stick with a magnet on the end. Handy for lifting sterilized lids and rings out of hot water. It helps to keep things clean, but when I am canning I wear gloves anyway. (just to be on the safe side)


First completely dissolve salt in water, add cucumber and onion slices. Add water till just covers veggies. Cover and let this sit on the counter for about 2 hours. After wards drain in a colander and rinse with cool water.

In a sauce pan combine the vinegars, sugar, mustard seeds, turmeric, garlic, and chili flake. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer till ready. Just an fyi here. Don't put your face over the pot while it is boiling to smell the yummy-ness of the combination of flavors here. Your eyes will water, your nose will burn, and you will cough. Moving on...

Place freshly washed jars in a large pot of boiling water. Place lids & rings in a separate pot of boiling water. Carefully remove jars, fill with cucumber and onion mixture, then using a funnel, fill with hot vinegar liquid leaving a 1/4" head space. If desired sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of Pickle Crisp in each jar. Using a clean/damp paper towel wipe the rim to remove any spilled liquid. Place lid on and screw the ring until just barely tight. Repeat with remaining jars. Place jars in a hot water canner (or I just used my big pasta pot with a steamer on the bottom). Make sure the jars are completely covered. Bring to a full rolling boil, cover and let process for 15 minutes. Remove jars with a jar lifter and place them on a clean kitchen towel on the counter. Some where out of the way where the kids won't be touching them, and they won't get knocked over. Don't touch the jars for at least 4 hours. When they have cooled completely, press down on the lids. If they pop back at you they did not seal completely. At this point you can either A.) Re-process them as stated above, or B.) put them in your fridge and consume within the next week or so. If your lids do not pop back at you CONGRATS! You have successfully canned your pickles! Tighten the rings all the way and place in your pantry to "marinate" for at least 2 weeks. Then crack those babies open and enjoy!!

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