This is the Year of the Cucumber. And because of this bonanza, I needed to do something with all the extras. One family can only eat so much cucumber salad, after all.
So I thought I’d try making pickles, as I so predicted I would. Know thyself, I guess. Anyway, off to the Internet! Unfortunately, unlike canning tomatoes, pickle-making has a far less unified following. The USDA, who’s sole mission it seems is to sterilize everything, was not helpful. If you sterilize a vegetable, as in–boil it for 45 minutes–it becomes mush. This is fine for tomatoes, but when I tried a similar approach to pickling peppers a few years back, I ended up with a jar of pepper goo. I therefore sought anecdotal information.
It boiled down (see what I did there?) to two main approaches: a high-temp and short duration treatment, or a lengthy but low-temp treatment. I opted for the first simply because it’d be a quicker process.
The brine consisted of equal parts cider vinegar and water, with salt, then boiled. I cut cucumbers into spears, packed two jars, then poured in the boiling brine, then flash-boiled the jars. I added additional seasoning of dill seed, dill fronds, and crushed red pepper.
Admittedly, I have no idea what I’m doing here, but presumably the brine preserves the cucumbers, which supersedes the need for an extended sterilization process. I suppose I’ll find out.
[Edit: 2 days later I found out. Curiosity won out and I opened a jar. I was very pleased with how they turned out, and the red pepper gives them a nice bite.]