July 2016 Country Kitchen
Canning has traditionally been a way to preserve an abundance of vegetables grown in spring and summer to save for winter months. While that’s still true, canning can be enjoyed by anyone, regardless of their vegetable gardening skills. Making pickles is arguably the best place to start.
With minimal equipment, a few spices and some high-quality cucumbers, anyone can produce delicious pickles for their own enjoyment or to give as gifts.
As Americans become further removed from farm life and self-sufficiency, serving homemade pickles at a cookout or gifting pretty jars of pickles at Christmas is a safe, cost-effective way to remind friends and family of the simple joys of homemade food.
From using Red Hots candy as a spicy flavoring (“Red Hot Cinnamon Pickles”) to a pickle recipe that starts with already-pickled pickles (“Wicked Good Pickles”), there are hundreds of ways to get your pickle on.
To ensure crunchy, crisp pickles, cut off the blossom end of the cucumber. Enzymes in the blossom can cause the cucumbers to become soft over time.
We’ve chosen recipes sure to appeal to beginners and veterans alike. Summer is the best time to grow or purchase cucumbers, so get started today.
For some canning, a pressure cooker is required to control bacteria. However, because of the high acidity of pickles, processing in a water bath is safe.
Foods requiring a pressure cooker include asparagus, carrots, corn, okra and peas.