NEVER on any consideration use brass, copper, or bell-metal kettles for pickling; the verdigris produced in them by the vinegar being of a most poisonous nature. Kettles lined with porcelain are the best, but if you cannot procure them, block tin may be substituted. Iron is apt to discolour any acid that is boiled in it.
Vinegar for pickles should always be of the best cider kind. In putting away pickles, use stone or glass jars. The lead which is an ingredient in the glazing of common earthen-ware, is rendered very pernicious by the action of the vinegar. Have a large wooden spoon and a fork, for the express purpose of taking pickles out of the jar when you want them for the table. See that, while in the jar, they are always completely covered with vinegar. If you discern in them any symptoms of not keeping well, do them over again in fresh vinegar and spice.
Vinegar for pickles should only boil five or six minutes.
The jars should be stopped with large flat corks, fitting closely, and having a leather or a round piece of oil-cloth tied over the cork.
It is a good rule to have two-thirds of the jar filled with pickles, and one-third with vinegar.
Alum is very useful in extracting the salt taste from pickles, and in making them firm and crisp. A very small quantity is sufficient- Too much will spoil them.
In greening pickles keep them very closely covered, so that none of the steam may escape; as its retention promotes their greenness and prevents the flavour from evaporating.
Vinegar and spice for pickles should be boiled but a few minutes. Too much boiling takes away the strength.