Puyallup’s Duris Cucumber Farm included this recipe in a booklet they published in the early 1960s. The recipe credits Marilyn Roberts, who said it was from an (unnamed) 1886 cookbook. As the jars age, the heat from the dried pepper increases substantially, so plan the amount of pepper used according to taste. These pickles are far crisper than any mass-produced version, and well worth the effort of careful canning.
makes: 10 quart jars | start to finish: about 2 hours, plus a couple months curing time
For the jars:
Sterilize 10 wide-mouth quart jars. To each jar, add these ingredients in the order given:
1 teaspoon pickling spice
1 clove garlic
1 onion slice, approximately 1/4″ thick
1 sprig of dill
1 3″ piece of dill stalk
1/2 to 1 dried hot pepper
1 grape leaf
12-16 small pickling cucumbers (cucumber size varies even within the “small” category; comfortably fill the jar while leaving at least 1″ of space at the top of the jar.)
For the brine:
4 quarts water
1 quart cider vinegar
1 cup pickling salt
Combine water, vinegar and salt in a large stock pot. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat so the brine maintains a steady simmer.
While the brine warms up, heat a quart of water in a small saucepan until it’s at a low boil.
Once the brine is at a steady simmer, fill a jar with hot brine to within an inch of the top, making sure to cover all the cucumbers. Once brine has been added to a jar, it should be sealed immediately before you fill the remaining jars with the brine.
For sealing: Using tongs, dip a new wide-mouth jar lid in the hot water. Without touching the bottom of the lid with your fingers, place the lid securely onto a filled jar. Twist the ring loosely around the top of the jar to finish sealing them.
Repeat the brining and sealing process for each of the 10 jars. As the jars cool down, you will hear a popping sound as a tight seal is formed between the jar and the lid. Any jars that don’t seal properly should not be eaten. Once jars have fully sealed and have cooled down so you can comfortably hold them, finish twisting the ring so it’s on securely.
Pickles are ready for eating three months after canning. Before opening, store pickle jars in a dark, cool spot. After opening, keep them in the fridge.