SOUR PICKLES. SWEET PICKLES. VINEGAR.
IN making pickles, do not use metal vessels. If vinegar has to be boiled, use a porcelain kettle or a stone crock. For a few years past I have pickled and spiced a good share of my cucumbers when first procured, and sealed them up hot in glass jars for winter use, the same as fruit. Glass cans are cheap, and it has proved economy, in my case, for the reason that I suffered severely at the hands of the vinegar seller. One year I paid fifty cents per gallon for "pure cider vinegar," and one lot of pickles I had to "do up" three different times, to keep them from spoiling. But sealed up hot they are always ready, just the right flavor, and no further source of anxiety. This need not apply to those who are sure of the Simon-pure article of vinegar, although it is the least work in the long run. The recipes in this chapter have been procured from different ladies who excelled in pickling.
Mrs. T. E. Sullivan, Chicago.
This is never failing. Cut them from the vines with scissors, leaving on a half-inch stem. They must not be washed. Use a half barrel or keg, and make a brine of soft water, strong enough to bear up an egg. Now comes the great secret of the success, and that is in the arrangement of the cover. See that it fits tightly 2 inches from the top. By crowding it down sideways you can fit it nicely. Cut a hole about 3 inches square in the middle of the cover. After the keg is nearly filled with brine and the cover is fitted in, you must drop in your cucumbers. Never mind the dirt. The brine will soak it off, and it will all settle to the bottom. Put in as many as you choose at a time, only be sure that the brine is overflowing always, and that insures the scum that invariably rises, to be above the cover. Keep a plate and weight over the opening in the cover. Before putting in fresh cucumbers, dip out the scum from the top, and add a cup of salt for each peck, so that the brine may be kept at its full strength. Keep in a cool place and do not let them freeze, and you will have good, firm pickles all winter. Watch that the brine is kept over the cover all the time. If it evaporates, add more. When you notice the scum take it off. [When wanted for use, we think the easiest way to freshen and pickle is Mrs. Hodge's method, on this page.]
Mrs. Z. B. Glynn, Boston, Mass.
Boil the artichokes till you can pull the leaves off. Take out the choke and cut away the stalk, but be careful that the knife does not touch the top. Throw them into salt and water. When they have lain an hour take out and drain. Then put into glasses or jars, add a little mace and nutmeg. Fill up with § vinegar diluted with 1/3 spring water and cover your jars close.
When you are ready to lay them down for winter, pour boiling water over them and drain well. Then pack in salt. When wanted for pickling, place in a jar as many as you want to freshen and cover with boiling water. When cool drain off and pour over another kettle boiling hot, and pour on one kettle more. Then when cool and drained heat vinegar to a scalding point, flavor with red pepper, cloves, or anything preferred, and pour over.
[This is the easiest way we have ever found to pickle cucumbers that are in brine. It does away with the trouble of having them around a day or two freshening. - Ed.]