This section is from the book "Mrs. Allen's Cook Book", by Mrs. Ida C. Bailey Allen. See also: The Conscious Cook: Delicious Meatless Recipes That Will Change the Way You Eat.
The making of ordinary sour or sweet pickles, as gherkins or green tomatoes, may be successfully done at home, without the use of preserving powders, alum, or a copper or brass kettle to make them green. All of these methods of preserving the color are inimical to health and should be absolutely avoided.
In making whole cucumber pickles, select the fresh vegetable, and brush rather than wash them. They should then be put in brine because the brine draws out the moisture and therefore makes a more compact and firm pickle. Because salt is a preservative the preliminary soaking in brine also assists in keeping the pickles for an indefinite period. The brine should not be too strong lest it soften the vegetable.
Add enough ordinary salt to a quart of water to float a fresh egg - .about one-half cupful.
The old-fashioned method of lining the preserving kettle in pickle-making with grape leaves, cabbage leaves and covering the mixture with them, gives a delicious flavor and assists in retaining the color. A few cherry leaves or tendrils of grape vines are an addition.
Let the cucumbers stand in a brine for twenty-four hours. Then drain them. Cover with pickle vinegar, and bring to boiling point. Transfer the pickles to jars and cover with the vinegar.
1 quart vinegar
2 teaspoonfuls whole black pepper
From 1/2 to 2 teaspoonfuls grated horseradish
Bring to boiling point. Boil a minute or two and cool before pouring over the pickles.
Soak small gherkins in the brine, as directed. Finish as in the preceding recipe, using sweet pickling vinegar.
Add a cupful of sugar to the ingredients for making sour pickling vinegar.
Wash four quarts of green tomatoes, peel five small onions and five green peppers. Slice or chop them, cover with a brine made as directed, and let stand over night. In the morning, drain and add once the recipe for sour pickling vinegar. Simmer for twenty minutes and seal in jars while hot.
Wash five quarts of green tomatoes, and peel five onions. Slice, let stand over night in a brine made as directed. Drain, cover with sweet pickling vinegar and boil for fifteen minutes. Seal while hot.
3 quarts chopped, seeded cucumbers 1 1/2 quarts chopped onions 1 1/2 pints chopped green peppers
6 tablespoonfuls celery seed
1 1/4 teaspoonfuls white pepper
Vinegar to cover
Combine the cucumber, onion and peppers, and sprinkle them sparingly with salt. About two tablespoonfuls and a half will be sufficient. Cover and let stand over night in a cool place. In the morning add the celery seed and the pepper, together with vinegar to cover, and store. This should not be cooked. A head of celery, or two cupfuls of finely-chopped cabbage, may be added if desired.