Turn your fresh cucumbers into crisp, crunchy cucumber lime pickles to enjoy year-round. To flavor the brine, you can either tie the spices in a cheesecloth bag to be easily discarded, or leave them loose for a more intense flavor. Also, if your cucumbers are rather fat, you may want to increase the brine amount by half to ensure you have enough for all your jars. (To do that, add an additional 4 cups vinegar, 4 cups sugar, 1½ tsp salt, and 1 tsp pickling spices.)
Yield: Variable (appx. 10 pints)
- 2 gallons water
- 1 cup pickling lime
- 7 pounds cucumbers, sliced crosswise
- 8 cups distilled white vinegar (5 percent)
- 8 cups sugar
- 1 Tbsp salt
- 2 teaspoons mixed pickling spices (tied in a cheesecloth bag, optional)
- Combine water and pickling lime in an enamel pan (do not use aluminum). Add cucumbers. Let stand overnight.
- Drain and discard lime water. Rinse cucumbers 3 times with cold water. Return them to the pot, cover them with ice water, and let stand for 3 hours. Drain.
- Combine vinegar, sugar, salt, and spices in a large pot. Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and add cucumbers. Let stand, covered, overnight.
- The following day, bring syrup and cucumbers to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 35 minutes. Discard spices, if desired. Pack cucumbers into hot sterilized jars. Add boiling syrup, leaving ½-inch headspace; seal with 2-piece lids.
- Process pint jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes (quart jars for 15 minutes). These finished jars will store well in a dark place for a year. If you prefer not to process them, store them in the fridge for up to two months.
Featured Ingredient: Boston Pickling Cucumbers
With thin, vibrant green skin and crisp flesh the high yielding Boston Pickling Cucumber is a favorite among cooks and gardeners alike. As the name suggests, this cucumber is an excellent choice for—you guessed it—pickling! They are full of health benefits too: They're high in vitamins A, B, and C, and can help keep you hydrated due to their high water content. What's more, cucumbers can help fight heartburn when eaten, or relieve sunburn when the flesh is applied to your skin. Cucumber plants grow in either bush or vine form. This particular variety grows as a vine, and is best for gardens that have room for a trellis. Cucumbers are heat loving plants, so let us teach you how to grow cucumbers in your garden this summer!Recipe adapted from Southern and Then Some, a cookbook of the Alabama Farmers Cooperative, Inc.