So, Saturday was National Can-It-Forward day. I was unable to participate since I had plans on camping. I figured I would share one of my recipes that I made this year. These are sweet and spicy pickles. The previous year I had a recipe I found online and it was so disappointing. I ended up throwing out 5 or 6 quarts of pickles because they were blah! They tasted like a not so spicy and not so sweet cucumber. Regardless, I learned my lesson and concocted my own recipe.
This year was definitely my year for cucumbers. I’ve had tons to pickle and tons left over to set up a produce stand by the road and sell some. People just love fresh vegetables and I love getting money for my fresh vegetables. It’s a win/win.
- 16 cucumbers, washed and sliced
- 2 lg. onions, thinly sliced
- 3/4 cup pickling salt
- 12 cups water
- 10 Hungarian peppers with seeds, thinly sliced
- 5 cups granulated sugar
- 4 cups white distilled vinegar
- 1/2 T. mustard seeds
- 1/2 tsp. celery seeds
- 1/2 T. turmeric
- 2 cloves
- Make sure to clean a large area on your counter top. Grab a large bath towel and fold it the long ways and place it flat on top of the counter. This will cover your filled canning jars to keep the cold air off from them.
- Place the cucumbers and onions in a nonreactive pan. A nonreactive pan is stainless steel, enamel, glass, or plastic. I used a large enamel stock pot.
- Put the pickling salt in the pan and pour water over the cucumbers and onions. You want enough water to cover the cucumbers and onions completely. Mine took 12 cups of water.
- Let the cucumbers and onions sit for 2 hours.
- Rinse the cucumbers and onions for about 5 minutes under water to get most of the pickling salt off them.
- In a separate large sauce pot over medium heat, add in the Hungarian peppers, granulated salt, vinegar, mustard seeds, celery seeds, turmeric, and cloves. Stir occasionally.
- Make sure the hot water canner is over the heat and ready to sterilize the canning jars.
- Bring the pickling syrup up to a boil and add the canning jars and lids into the hot water canner.
- Add the hot pickling syrup in with the cucumbers and onions. Let it come to a boil and boil for about 5 minutes. Make sure to stir the cucumbers occasionally.
- Pull out a canning jar and place the funnel in the jar. Using a slotted spoon, add in as many pickles as you can. Leave an 1/2 inch of headspace. Filling the jars with syrup still leaving 1/2 inch of headspace.
- Clean the rim of the jar with a damp paper towel. Using a lid lifter, pull a hot lid out of the hot water canner and place it on the clean rim. Grab a ring and tighten it down on the lid.
- Place the jar of pickles between the folding towel. Make sure the top, bottom, and sides are covered.
- Repeat the filling and covering with the rest of the canning jars.
- They will seal on their own while sitting under the towel. It could take one hour or 10 hours to pop. If you have one or two to not seal, place them in a hot water bath for 20 minutes and put back under the towel. If you still have issues, you probably didn't have a clean rim and place the unsealed pickles in the fridge and eat them.
I shared a wonderful recipe for sweet and spicy pickles. Now, I’m going to go on about how great camping was. I’ve camped with my family at the same state park for as long as I can remember. They recently started letting you bring your dogs at a price of course and you’re at the very top of the hill. It’s quite the secluded area far from where I’m used to camping. I can remember always being in lot #13 growing up. It was right next to the bathrooms and it was an awesome place to ride bike. This time we were up in lot #99. Needless to say it was a long walk down to the fishing hole and swimming area where the playground is.
We ate a couple mountain pies, which are to die for. There is no secret ingredient that makes them fantastic. I think it’s the whole experience and cooking them in a cast iron mold over the camp fire. If you don’t know what a mountain pie is, it’s like a grilled cheese, but with pizza sauce, mozzarella, and pepperoni. I didn’t get a picture because that’s when Lucian’s allergies kicked up and we had to make a run to walmart at 10:30 at night. It all starts with a decently high fever. Luckily, I think we’re on our way to recovering. I hope to share a few pictures soon.
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