There is a small child sitting on my lap.
She smells like a pickle.
Let’s talk about why that is, shall we?
Well. I’m sure you know why that is. I mean it’s pretty obvious. She’s had her whole fist in the pickle jar all the live long day.
She is one of my many children who have been walking around the past few days since I made my first batch of sweet pickled cucumber slices this season and telling me just how much they LOVE my pickles.
So it’s either make my children unhappy and stop making the pickles or put up with the pickle stink. I love my kids and they’ve smelled worse before. So we’ll go with happy pickle munchin’ munchkins.
Honestly, I can’t blame them. I’ve never been big on pickles myself, but these are mighty fine ifIdosaysomyself.
I want to feel guilty deep down inside about these not being the super healthy fermented, even lacto-fermented pickles that make for super human guts & immune systems, really I do. But what good would it do if I did?
No one would eat them unless a threat or a promise were involved. Food should bring pleasure, not punishment or bribery. And since these pickles lack the sodium benzoate, yellow 5, and polysorbate 80 of name brand pickles, I’ll be content with that, reminding myself just why we don’t stick to only one food fad.
But what about the crunch you ask. Are they crunchy?
Are they ever! Even after nearly a year, they retain their crunch. Beyond that I can not attest to. For no matter how many I’ve made, they’ve never lasted that long.
I do have a few tricks up my sleeve that make them crunchy. First is removing the blossom end of the cucumber and discarding it. They have an anti-crunchy enzyme in them that makes the pickle break down into an undesirable state of crunchlessness.
Next is thicker slices. Obviously, if your slices are too thin, then your pickles will mush up more quickly.
The third trick is the salting and the icing. That draws out some of the liquid.
I’ve heard about tossing a grape leaf in your pickles too. Now that we have a grapevine, I tried that in a few jars, but doubt it will make a difference since I used the other tricks.
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Sweet Pickled Cucumber Slices
Sweet Pickled Cucumber Slices
- 5 lbs. pickling cucumbers
- ¼ cup salt (sea salt, kosher salt or pickling salt)
- 2 cups sweetener, I used evaporated cane juice
- 2 ½ cups vinegar
- 2 cups apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon tumeric
- For each pint sized jar-
- 8 whole cloves
- 10 whole black peppercorns
- large pinch yellow mustard seed
- small pinch celery seed
- Prepare the cucumbers by removing and discarding the blossom end. (Adding it to your pickles will made the soft and not crunchy.)
- Slice the cucumbers into 3/8" slices or so.
- Place the slices in a large bowl.
- Sprinkle the sea salt on top and toss them together.
- Cover with a towel then cover with a layer of ice.
- Refrigerate for 3-4 hours.
- If you're canning the pickles, prepare a waterbath canner for use by filling it 2/3 full of water and putting it on a burner on high to bring the water to a boil.
- Bring vinegars, tumeric, and sugar to a boil, dissolving sugar.
- Meanwhile, cold pack the slices into pint sized canning jars leaving a 1/2“ headspace. (Cold pack means you don't have to warm the slices or the jars before placing them in the jar.)
- Divide the spices among the jars.
- Using a funnel & ladle, divide the boiled, sweetened vinegar among the jars.
- Wipe the rims of the jars clean with a wet rag or paper towel and top with lids and rings.
- Slowly lower the jars with a jar lifter into the boiling water of the water bath canner.
- Cover and boil for 10 minutes.
- Using the jar lifter, remove the jars of pickles and set them on the counter to cool.
- Before storing, make sure the seal is good by gently trying to lift it. If it didn't seal, place the jar in the fridge and enjoy your refrigerator pickles first.