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How do I make pickles from cucumbers? — Fran, VA

Bonnie Moore


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 works 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:

  1. Sprinkle unwaxed cucumbers with salt, cover with ice water and let stand overnight.
  2. Rinse thoroughly, drain well and pack the cucumbers in clean jars.
  3. Combine the vinegar, sugar and pickling spices in a pot and bring to a boil.
  4. Pour the hot liquid over the cucumbers and seal.
  5. Cool to room temperature and refrigerate up to 3 weeks. For longer storage, the jars need to be processed in a boiling water bath.
About Bonnie Moore

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 was the 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.

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