Wash the cucumbers in cold water, being careful not to bruise or break them. Make a brine of rock or blown salt (rock is the best), strong enough to bear up an egg or potato, and of sufficient quantity to cover the cucumbers.
Put them into an oaken tub, or stone-ware jar, and pour the brine over them. In twenty-four hours, they should be stirred up from the bottom with the hand. The third day pour off the brine, scald it, and pour it over the cucumbers. Let them stand in the brine nine days, scalding it every third day, as described above. Then take the cucumbers into a tub, rinse them in cold water, and if they are too salt, let them stand in it a few hours. Drain them from the water, put them back into the tub or jar, which must be washed clean from the brine. Scald vinegar sufficient to cover them, and pour it upon them. Cover them tight, and in a week they will be ready for use. If spice is wanted, it may be tied in a linen cloth and put into the jar with the pickles, or scalded with the vinegar, and the bag thrown into the pickle-jar. If a white scum rises, take it off and scald the vinegar, and pour it back. A small lump of alum added to the vinegar improves the hardness of the cucumbers.
Take a hundred nuts, an ounce of cloves, an ounce of allspice, an ounce of nutmeg, an ounce of whole pepper, an ounce of race ginger, an ounce of horse-radish, half pint of mustard-seed, and four cloves of garlic, tied in a bag.
Wipe the nuts, prick with a pin, and put them in a pot, sprinkling the spice as you lay them in; then add two table-spoonfuls of salt; boil sufficient vinegar to fill the pot, and pour it over the nuts and spice. Cover the jar close, and keep it for a year, when the pickles will be ready for use.
Butternuts may be made in the same manner, if they are taken when green, and soft enough to be stuck through with the head of a pin. Put them for a week or two in weak brine, changing it occasionally. Before putting in the brine, rub them about with a broom in brine, to cleanse the skins. Then proceed as for the walnuts.
The vinegar makes an excellent catsup.
Take the latest growth of young musk-melons, cut out a small piece from one side and empty them. Scrape the outside smooth, and soak them four days in strong salt and water. If you wish to green them, put vine leaves over and under, with bits of alum, and steam them awhile. Then powder cloves, pepper, and nutmeg in equal portions, and sprinkle on the inside, and fill them with strips of horse-radish, small bits of calamus, bits of cinnamon and mace, a clove or two, a very small onion, nasturtions, and then American mustard-seed to fill the crevices. Put back the piece cut out, and sew it on, and then sew the mango in cotton cloth. Lay all in a stone jar, the cut side upward.
Boil sharp vinegar a few minutes with half a tea-cup of salt, and a table-spoonful of alum to three gallons of vinegar, and turn it on to the melons. Keep dried barberries for garnishes, and when you use them, turn a little of the above vinegar of the mangoes heated boiling hot on to them, and let them swell a few hours. Sliced and salted cabbage with this vinegar poured on hot is very good.
Shred red and white cabbage, spread it in layers in a stone jar, with salt over each layer. Put two spoonfuls of whole black pepper, and the same quantity of allspice, cloves, and cinnamon, in a bag, and scald them in two quarts of vinegar, and pour the vinegar over the cabbage, and cover it tight. Use it in two days after.
Peel and slice ripe tomatoes, sprinkling on a little salt as you proceed. Drain off the juice, and pour on hot spiced vinegar.
Gather them when you can run a pin-head into them, and after wiping them, keep them ten days in weak brine, changing it every other day. Then wipe them, and pour over boiling spiced vinegar. In four weeks they will be ready for use. It is a fine pickle.
Put some spiced vinegar in a jar, with a little salt in it. Every time you gather a mess, pour boiling vinegar on them, with a little alum in it. Then put them in the spiced vinegar. Keep the same vinegar for scalding all. When you have enough, take all from the spiced vinegar, and scald in the alum vinegar two or three minutes, till green, and then put them back in the spiced vinegar.
Take green tomatoes, and slice them. Put them in a basket to drain in layers, with salt scattered over them, say a tea-cupful to each gallon. Next day, slice one quarter the quantity of onions, and lay the onions and tomatoes in alternate layers in a jar, with spice intervening. Then fill the jar with cold vinegar. Tomatoes picked as they ripen, and just thrown into cold spiced vinegar, are a fine pickle, and made with very little trouble.
Keep them twenty-four hours in strong brine, and then take them out and heat the brine, and pour it on scalding hot, and let them stand till next day. Drain them, and throw them into spiced vinegar.