The first requisite in making pickles is to have unadulterated vinegar, for all the expense and trouble bestowed upon them is often entirely lost in consequence of ingredients being mixed with this which soften, and sometimes even partially decompose, the substances immersed in it. That which is home-made is generally found for all purposes to answer best, and it may be prepared of almost any degree of strength by increasing the ordinary proportion of fruit and sugar, or whatever else may be used for it The refuse of raisin-wine, and green gooseberries, may both be converted into excellent vinegar: but unless the pickles be quite covered with their liquor, and well protected from the air, and from the influence of damp, which is more than anything destructive of them, the purity of the vinegar will not preserve them eatable. We can confidently recommend to the reader the rather limited number of receipts which follow, and which might easily be multiplied did the size of our volume permit Pickling is so easy a process, however, that When in any degree properly acquired, it may be extended to almost every kind of fruit and vegetable successfully. A few of the choicer kinds will nevertheless be found generally more acceptable than a greater variety of inferior preparations.
Leave about an inch of their stalks on some fine, sound cherries, that are not over-ripe; put them into a jar, cover them with cold vinegar, and let them stand for three weeks; pour off two-thirds of the liquor and replace it with fresh vinegar; then, after having drained it from the fruit, boil the whole with an ounce of coriander seed, a small blade of mace, a few grains of cayenne, or a teaspoonful of white peppercorns, and four bruised cochineals to every quart, all tied loosely in a fold of muslin. Let the pickle become quite cold before it is added to the cherries: in a month they will be fit for use. The vinegar which is poured from the fruit makes a good syrup of itself when boiled with a pound of sugar to the pint, but it is improved by having some fresh raspberries, cherries, or currants previously infused in it for three or four days.
These should be gathered quite young, and a portion of the buds, when very small, should be mixed with them. Prepare a pickle by dissolving an ounce and a half of salt in a quart of pale vinegar, and throw in the berries as they become fit, from day to day. They are* used instead of capers for sauce, and by some persons are preferred to them. When purchased for pickling, put them at once into a jar, and cover them well with the vinegar.
The walnuts for this pickle must be gathered while a pin can pierce them easily, for when once the shell can be felt, they have ceased to be in a proper state for it. Make sufficient brine to cover them well, with six ounces of salt to the gallon of water; take off the scum, which will rise to the surface as the salt dissolves, throw in the walnuts, and stir them night and morning; change the brine every three days, and if they are wanted for immediate eating, leave them in it for twelve days; otherwise, drain them from it in nine, spread them on dishes, and let them remain exposed to the air until they become black; this will be in twelve hours, or less. Make a pickle for them with something more than half a gallon of vinegar to the hundred, a teaspoonful of salt, two ounces of black pepper, three of bruised ginger, a drachm of mace, and from a quarter to half an ounce of cloves (of which some may be stuck into three or four small onions), and four ounces of mustard-seed. Boil the whole of these together for about five minutes; have the walnuts ready in a stone jar, or jars, and pour it on them as it is taken from the fire. When the pickle is quite cold, cover the jar securely, and store it in a dry place.
Keep the walnuts always well covered with the vinegar, and boil that which is added to them.
Walnuts, 100; in brine made with 12 ozs. salt to 2 quarts water, and changed twice or more, 9 or 12 days. Vinegar, full 1/2 gallon; salt, 1 teaspoonful; whole black pepper, 2 ozs.; ginger, 3 ozs.; mace, 1 drachm; cloves, 1/4 to 1/2 oz.; small onions, 4 to 6; mustard-seed, 4 ozs.: 5 minutes.