How to preserve cucumbers into sweet pickles:
Preserve those fresh from garden cucumbers by making them into pickles. My favorite pickle recipe is Snappy Sweet Pickles. The pickling process takes some time to achieve a nice crisp pickles. After years of making batches of pickles, and trying many different pickling methods, the following techniques works the best. Some of my valued taste testers would eat these prized pickles by the bowl. Snappy sweet pickles are great with any type of BBQ meats or sandwiches.
How to achieve crispy pickles:
The key in making crisp pickles takes a few steps of processing. First step is to wash all fresh cucumbers scrubbing them well with cold water. Draining all excess water off all the cucumbers. Next slicing cucumbers evenly to about three eighths inch thick, then putting them in a colander. Continue by julienne the onions and peppers, slice chilies, put these vegetables with the sliced cucumbers. The key to achieve a great crispy pickle is to salt the cucumbers, vegetables then place lots of ice over top. The salt draws out excess moisture from cucumbers to helping them to become more crispy.
Making a good brine.
The magic happens when all the right ingredients are when the brine is boiling. Balance of the vinegar with sugar, garlic and spices is making of great pickles. The golden hue of the brine comes from turmeric, but also has excellent antioxidants. Favorite spices to use in the brine is mustard seeds, celery seeds, whole cloves, turmeric and red chilies flakes. This year cayennes peppers slices made a great addition to the snappy sweet pickles.
Cider vinegar that has 5%, which gives the brine a better flavor profile. Sweet pickles has a higher sugar to vinegar ratio, of 5 to 3 leaving a nicely sweet balanced of taste to the pickles.
To make the sweet pickle brine add all the spices, garlic , chilies, sugar and vinegar together in large stock pot. Bring this brine mixture to boil for a few minutes to dissolve all sugar.
Finishing Pickling the Cucumbers:
The actual pickling process is bringing the sweet pickle brine and prepped cucumbers vegetables to boil in large stockpot. Use a heavy duty stainless steel lined stockpot preferably Triply Allclad. The stainless steel is important that doesn’t react to brine. Allclad is very he heavy duty pot will have more even heat distribution. Use any good 8 to 12 quart heavy duty stockpot works great. Cook the pickles for good 2 to 5 minutes, the color of pickles will change from bright green to darker green as pickles start curing. Green vegetables will always be effected by acidic brine and change colors.
Canning the pickles:
Canning snappy sweet pickles takes time but well worth all the effort. Don’t try and skip steps. It’s extremely important to sterilize jars, lids and rings by boiling them in water for a good 15 minutes. Sanitize work area, work clean and organized. Have a wire rack to put sterilized jars, and clean towel for lids and rings.
Important step is to put 1/4 teaspoon of pickle crisp (calcium chloride) into each pint jar, or 1/2 teaspoon of pickle crisp into each jar. This really help make pickles super crisp.
Filling the jars with canning funnel keeps the canning processing mess minimized. Filling the jars with pickles to 1/2 to 3/4 inch from top of the jar. Then tamp with wooden spoon or tamper to push excess air out of the jared pickles.
Wipe each of the jars after filled with paper towels dampened with white vinegar. This removes all brine, cleaning jar rim so makes a perfect seal during canning processing. Next place sterile lid on each jar, then secured with ring band. Note do not over tighten, just secure lid onto jar, this will allow the air to escape in processing. When jars cool they from vacuum.
Careful placing each jar into boiling water, remember to remove excess water as jars displace water. Have at least 1/2 inch of water over top. Boil pickle filled jars for 15 minutes for pints and 20 minutes for quarts. When finished careful pulling jars out of the boiling water, use a canning jar tongs to remove the jars. Place jars onto wire rack spacing them out for good air flow. Notice as jars cool there will be a clicking sound of lids sealing. Also notice the lid dimples will be clicked downwards.
Make a label for each snappy sweet pickles, be sure to put date prepared On the label. This is fun process be creative on naming pickles and drawing fun pictures. This label has a lazy happy pickle on slice of bread, with butter pat pillow and pepper comforter.
Enjoy preserving cucumbers with this recipe, having a nice crisp crunchy texture, that is sweet and a bit spicy.
Super Hot Sweet Pickles:
If you want to add some real good kick to Snappy Pickles add some Gator Jigsaw Peppers, Carolina Reaper Peppers or Ghost Peppers. I put some of my newly found favorite Gator Jigsaw Pepper into on pint jar, aye caramba it’s super hot. Be brave try adding a super hot pepper at end of your batch to last few jars. Bringing on the heat wanting more.
Snappy Bread & Butter Pickles with one Gator Jigsaw Pepper in each pint jar at the very bottom on Pickles.
If you’re interested in Gator Jigsaw Pepper you can find them at Pepper Joe’s.