Time to pickle beautiful vegetables from Farmers Markets and personal gardens! This is the moment, people, as will not last for ever. From late August to late October, in Minnesota, this is the time when there is an abundance of vegetables at the Farmer Market and the perfect time to preserve different foods for the winter.
Now, you might ask me, why are you doing this? Can you just go to the store and buy pickles already in jars and ready to eat? Yes, I can, but you see, there is something therapeutic about being in the kitchen and making food for my family. Some would say that the amount of work is not worth it. I will say that for me, it is very important, as I can preserve vegetables using old recipes I inherited from my family, recipes that were used when canning and preserving foods for the winter was a way of surviving over the winter.
My collection of cans went smaller and smaller over the years, but I still like to make a little bit of each one of my favorite recipes, just to enjoy them for holidays or when I am homesick.
Today, I am going to share with you a recipe from my Romanian old cooking book. This recipe is easy to make and doesn’t require a lot of science, which I like.
You have to start with the jars. Clean them with warm water and soap or put them in the dishwasher and give them a good bath. Then, sterilize them. Here is a link about how to do that properly.
I used quart jars with a wide mouth, for better fitting the cucumbers inside. Choose healthy cucumbers with no defects or spots. If they are curled and not easy to fit in the jar, slice them vertically, like in the picture above.
Also, one of the secrets for most pickled vegetables is to use horseradish root. Horseradish is an amazing preservative and also maintains the vegetables crispy for long periods of time. Dried dill, especially the one you can find late in the fall, with the seeds still on it, is a perfect ingredient for preserving and flavoring pickles. Garlic cloves, thyme, black peppercorns, mustard seeds and bay leaves are a great addition to the jar. Use them and your cucumbers will taste amazing.
TIP: As a basic rule, for each gallon of vinegar, add 4 tablespoons of salt(make sure the salt is for pickles with no iodine added to it) and 2 tablespoons granulated sugar.
Necessary tools for this recipe:
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- 4 pounds 4-6 inch cucumbers
- 1 head of garlic
- 1 gallon plain vinegar 5% acidity
- 4 tablespoons canning/pickling salt(no iodine)
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 5-6 bay leaves
- dried thyme
- dried dill(whole dill stems with umbels and green seeds)
- mustard seeds
- black peppercorns
- 1 horseradish root cleaned and sliced in strips
- Wash and drain cucumbers. Sterilize jars.(Here is a link about how to do that properly.)
- Fill up the jars with the cucumbers and add garlic cloves, black peppercorns, dried dill and slices of horseradish in between.
- In a big pot, bring vinegar to a boil together with salt and sugar. Boil for only 2-3 minutes, then add the bay leaves, thyme and mustard seeds. Set aside to cool for about 10 minutes.
- Pour the liquid over the cucumbers to fill the jars. Add 1-2 pieces of horseradish on top.
- Seal the jars and store them in a cool place above freezing temperature.
- These cucumbers will not ferment and will be perfect for the winter time.