Here are a few simple rules and ideas to follow:
- One bushel of cucumbers makes about 32 quarts of pickles.
- Use freshly gathered, three- to four-inch cucumbers. Can within 24 hours for best results.
- Use canning salt rather than ordinary salt. Filler in table salt may cause cloudiness and darkening of pickles.
- Use enamel, stainless steel or aluminum pots ... not copper.
- Wipe jars clean before sealing, and have your lids in boiling water so they will seal. Dry thoroughly before placing on jars.
- When processing in hot-water bath, water should come three inches above jars.
- Hollow pickles
- Cucumbers were poorly developed.
- You waited too long between gathering cucumbers and using them.
- Fermentation was too quick, and temperature was too high.
- Brine wasn't strong or weak enough.
- White sediment in jar bottom
- If pickles are firm, it is only harmless yeast that has grown and settled.
- If pickles are soft, this is a sign of spoilage and pickles should not be eaten. Once a pickle becomes soft, it can't be made firm again. Microbial activity has caused spoilage.
- Slippery or soft pickles
- Not enough vinegar, brine or salt was used.
- The pickles weren't covered with liquid.
- Scum wasn't removed from top and was allowed to drift through brine during fermentation.
- Pickles weren't heated long enough.
- The jars weren't sealed tight.
- Dark pickles
- Minerals, such as iron, were present in the water.
- Iron, zinc, copper or brass utensils were used.
- Ground spices were used instead of whole spices; too much spice was used.
- Iodized salt was used.
Cold-water dill pickles:
One cup non-iodized salt to one gallon of distilled or well water. Place dill and garlic on bottom of jar, place cucumbers on top. Place on top of cucumbers: dill, garlic, cabbage leaf (for fermentation). Pour salty water in jar, seal jar. Allow to stand for one week to 30 days.
Kvasene (fermenting) dill pickles:
Boil one gallon of water, one cup ofsalt, and 2/3 cup vinegar. Let cool. Half-grown cucumbers are good. Pack in jars. Pour mixture over and seal, not tight. In three days, test them; they may need more salt. If so, add now. Takes about six days. When scum appears, take it off. Put pickles in refrigerator; just eat them while season lasts.
Homestyle kosher dills:
Bring two quarts water, three cups salt and three quarts vinegar to a boil. Pack cucumbers and a ball of fresh cabbage, onion, clove of garlic and dill in jars. Pour hot mixture over packed jars and seal. Can be used over turnips, okra and cauliflower. Ready in three weeks.
Cut up two quarts of cucumbers night before, add handful of salt, no water, let stand overnight. Next morning, heat to boiling, ¾ cups vinegar, two cups sugar, three tablespoon dry mustard, three cups water, 2/3 teaspoon turmeric, three teaspoon mustard seed. Lift cucumbers out of brine and add to hot mixture. Boil for a few minutes and seal in jars. (If desired, two large onions can be added to cucumbers the night before.)
Pick and wash enough small or medium cucumbers to fill six quarts. Add dill, onions (or garlic) on top of cucumbers. Mix three cups vinegar, 32 cups water and three cups salt together and bring to a boil. Boil mixture for five minutes. Pour hot mixture over cucumbers and seal. Let stand in hot water for about 30 minutes or more. For best results, use 90-grain vinegar and sack salt, non-iodized. Ready in three weeks.
Bring two quarts vinegar, three quarts water and three cup salt to a boil and pour over pickles and seal. You may add dill, garlic, hot peppers or spices. Set on drainboard and cover with bedspread until jars cool and the cucumbers turn color. Ready in three weeks.
In bottom of jar, put dill, then pack with clean cucumbers. In a pit, put to boil: two cups water, 2/3 cup sugar, three cups vinegar, four tablespoons salt. When it comes to a boil, pour over cucumbers. Seal and put jars into a large pot of hot water and let stand until pickles turn yellow or lighten in color. Turn off heat under pot, let jars sit in water until they cool. Ready in three weeks.