Do not keep pickles in common earthenware, as the glazing: contains lead, and combines with the vinegar.
Vinegar for pickling should be sharp, but not the sharpest kind, as it injures the pickles. Wine or cider vinegar is reliable. Much manufactured vinegar is sold that ruins pickles and is unhealthful. If you use copper, bell-metal, or brass vessels for pickling, never allow the vinegar to cool in them, as it then is poisonous. Add a table-spoonful of alum and a tea-cup of salt to each three gallons of vinegar, and tie up a bag with pepper, ginger-root, and spices of all sorts in it, and you have vinegar prepared for any kind of common pickling, and in many cases all that is needed is to throw the fruit in and keep it in till wanted.
Keep pickles only in wood or stone ware.
Any thing that has held grease will spoil pickles.
Stir pickles occasionally, and if there are soft ones, take them out, scald the vinegar, and pour it hot over the pickles. Keep enough vinegar to cover them well. If it is weak, take fresh vinegar, and pour on hot. Do not boil vinegar or spice over five minutes.
Sweet Pickles, (a great favorite.) - One pound of sugar, one quart of vinegar, two pounds of fruit. Boil fifteen minutes, skim well, put in the fruit and let it boil till half cooked. For peaches, flavor with cinnamon and mace; for plums and all dark fruit, use allspice and cloves.
As you gather them, leave an inch or more of stem; throw them into cold vinegar. When you have enough, take them out, and scald some spices, tied in a bag, in good vinegar; add a little sugar, and pour it hot over them.
Take ripe but hard peaches, wipe off the down, stick a few cloves into them, and lay them in cold spiced vinegar. In three months they will be sufficiently pickled, and also retain much of their natural flavor.
Take green peppers, take the seeds out carefully so as not to mangle them, soak them nine days in salt and water, changing it every day, and keep them in a warm place. Stuff them with chopped cabbage, seasoned with cloves, cinnamon, and mace; put them in cold spiced vinegar.
Soak them three days in salt and water as you collect them, changing it once in three days; and when you have enough, pour off the brine, and pour on scalding hot vinegar.
Peel, and boil in milk and water ten minutes, drain off the milk and water, and pour scalding spiced vinegar on to them.
Keep them in strong brine till they are yellow, then take them out and turn on hot spiced vinegar, and keep them in it, in a warm place, till they turn green. Then turn off the vinegar, and add a fresh supply of hot spiced vinegar.
Stew them in salted water, just enough to keep them from sticking. When tender, pour off the water, and pour on hot spiced vinegar. Then cork them tight, if you wish to keep them long. Poison ones will turn black if an onion is stewed with them, and then all must be thrown away.