I was telling my friend Sheila about it because she also makes pickles. Her pickles, however, are bread and butter pickles. She calls them Christmas Pickles because they are green and have some red in them and because she gives them out to people at Christmas. Everyone else calls them Sheila's Pickles and she has developed quite a fan base over time, so that every year she finds she must make more and more jars of pickles.
And yet, making Sheila's Pickles is not difficult and she has volunteered her recipe for anyone who wants to try their hand at it.
Sheila's Bread and Butter Christmas Pickles
1 gallon small firm cucumbers (about 35 firm kirbys or small firm zucchini, or a combination*)
2 red peppers
8 small white onions
1/2 cup pickling or kosher salt
For the Pickling Syrup:
5 cups of sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon celery seed
2 tablespoons mustard seed
5 cups white vinegar
1- Select crisp, fresh cukes or kirbys. Wash, but do not pare.
2- Slice cukes or kirbys and onions paper thin and cut peppers into fine shreds.**
3- Mix salt with the vegetables and bury pieces of cracked ice in the mixture.
4- Cover with an inverted weighted lid (so the salt and ice pushes as much moisture out of the vegetables as possible) and let stand for three hours. Drain thoroughly.
5- Mix the dry ingredients with the vinegar and pour over vegetables. Place over low hear and paddle occasionally with a wooden spoon.
6- Heat the mixture to scalding, but do not boil.
7- Pour in hot sterilized jar and seal.
8- Process the jars in a water bath for at least 10 minutes
Makes 7 to 8 pints
*Sheila uses small firs kirbys and I think they are better than either small cucumber or zucchini, but that would be a matter of taste.
**a mandolin makes slicing the cukes or kirbys much easier and faster.
If you have never done a water bath for preserving food, here is a short video that tells you how to do it. You really don't need all the equipment they show, but it is nice. For year, Sheila did her water bath in a large pasta pot.
Weekend Cooking is a weekly event hosted by Beth Fish Reads