In making pickles use none but the best cider vinegar, and boil in a porcelain kettle - never in metal. A lump of alum size of a small nutmeg, to a gallon of cucumbers, dissolved and added to the vinegar when scalding the pickles the first time, renders them crisp and tender, but too much is injurious. Keep in a dry, cool cellar, in glass or stoneware; look at them frequently and remove all soft ones; if white specks appear in the vinegar, drain off and scald, adding a liberal handful of sugar to each gallon, and pour again over the pickles; bits of horse-radish and a few cloves assist in preserving the life of the vinegar. If put away in large stone jars, invert a saucer over the top of the pickles, so as to keep them well under the vinegar. The nicest way to put up pickles is bottling, sealing while hot, and keeping in a cool, dark place. Many think that mustard-seed improves pickles, especially chopped, bottled, and mangoes, but use it, as well as horse-radish and cloves, sparingly. Never put up pickles in any thing that has held any kind of grease, and never let them freeze. Use an oaken tub or cask for pickles in brine, keep them well under, and have more salt than will dissolve, so that there will always be plenty at the bottom of the cask. The brine for pickles should be strong -enough to bear an egg; make it in the proportion of a heaping pint of coarse salt to a gallon of water. Use coarse salt, and test pickles by tasting before putting on vinegar (they should be of a pleasant saltness); if not salt enough, add salt to brine and allow them to stand until they have acquired the proper flavor; if too salt, cover with weak vinegar, and let stand for two or three days, drain, adding strong vinegar, either hot or cold according to recipes, and finish as directed. In the case of kegs of cucumbers kept in brine for a long time, to be used when needed, it is better to err in using too much salt, as this may be corrected by adding the weak vinegar, but if not sufficiently salted the pickles will be insipid. In scalding cucumber pickles to green them, some use cabbage leaves, covering bottom, sides, and top of kettle. A medium spicing for a quart of pickles is a level tea-spoon of peppercorns (whole black peppers), the same of allspice, a table-spoon of broken stick cinnamon, half a tea-spoon of cloves, mustard seed, or horse-radish chopped fine, and one piece of ginger root, an inch long. If ground cayenne pepper is used instead of whole peppers, an eighth of a tea-spoon is enough. A better substitute for peppercorns is garden-peppers cut in rings, in proportion of two rings of green and one of red without seeds, or a level tea-spoon, when finely chopped, to a quart of pickles. These proportions may be increased or decreased to suit the taste, taking care not to put in so much of any one as to make its flavor predominate. Ginger is the most wholesome of the spices. Cloves are the strongest, mace next, then allspice and cinnamon, and, of course, less of the stronger should be used. Pickles are not famous for wholesome qualities, even when made with the greatest care, but if they must be eaten, it is best to make them at home. Those sold in market are often colored a beautiful green with sulphate of copper, which is a deadly poison, or are cooked in brass or copper vessels, which produces the same result in an indirect way. Scalding or parboiling articles to be pickled makes them absorb the vinegar more easily, but does not add to their crispness. Before putting them in vinegar, after parboiling, they should be cold and perfectly dry. Always use strong vinegar, or the pickles will be insipid, and it should be scalding hot when poured on, as raw vinegar becomes-ropy and does not keep well. As heating weakens it, vinegar for pickles should be very strong, and should only be brought to boiling point, and immediately poured on pickles. Keep pickles from the air, and see that the vinegar is at least two inches over the top of pickles in the jar. A dry wooden spoon or ladle should be used in handling pickles, and is the only one that should touch pickles in the jars. If the vinegar loses its strength it should be replaced by good, poured over scalding hot.