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How do I make pickles from cucumbers? Fran, VA
Pickling, canning and preserving are great ways to use the irresistible produce from your garden or local farmer's market. For many urbanites, it is a way to connect with the changing seasons. Cucumber pickles are made by curing cucumbers in a water and salt solution, draining them and preserving them in vinegar. Like all canned foods, it is important that they be properly processed to prevent the growth of toxins and other pathogens. Always use a reliable recipe, follow the directions and do not make substitutions.
Here are a few tips:
- Equipment: Use non-reactive pots and utensils, such as stainless steel.
- Cucumbers: Use fresh, unwaxed cucumbers that are free from blemishes and bruises. Younger, slightly underripe cucumbers will make crisper pickles.
Vinegar: Cider vinegar or any other mild vinegar work well with cucumbers. Be sure the vinegar has between 4 and 6 percent acidity. If the vinegar seems too sharp or sour, add sugar to balance the taste.
Salt: Use uniodized salt; iodized salt will darken pickles.
Here are the basic steps:
- Sprinkle unwaxed cucumbers with salt, cover with ice water and let stand overnight.
- Rinse thoroughly, drain well and pack the cucumbers in clean jars.
- Combine the vinegar, sugar and pickling spices in a pot and bring to a boil.
- Pour the hot liquid over the cucumbers and seal.
- Cool to room temperature and refrigerate up to 3 weeks. For longer storage, the jars need to be processed in a boiling water bath.
Bonnie Moore, FoodFit's Executive Chef, graduated
from Boston University with a bachelor's degree in
Math and Statistics before forsaking her calculator
for a whisk. Bonnie earned an associate degree in
Culinary Arts from Johnson & Wales University
and a degree in pastry arts from L'Academie de Cuisine.
She is the former sous chef at the Inn at Little Washington,
the only five-star, five-diamond kitchen in the United
States, and a former chef-instructor in the professional
program at L'Academie
de Cuisine in Maryland. Bonnie likes to be involved
with food at every stage; from planting seeds at the
farm to creating a meal for her family. She believes
that there is no better place to foster community
and nourish those you love than around a table piled
with delicious food.
Photograph of Bonnie Moore: © 2000 Adam Auel