I've always wanted to give gherkins a go, but was never certain whether or not I should risk it. I've tasted some great homemade pickles and then there were the others. But 7 lbs of free cukes had to be a sign that the planets were properly aligned for success in this endeavor.
Around these parts, there are many who make their pickles in the washing machine. Yes, you heard me right, the WASHING MACHINE! Not only was I intrigued, I had to try it. I admit, I felt a little odd throwing 7 lbs of pickling cukes into my washing machine and starting the gentle cycle. The feeling that this had the potential to go very wrong loomed heavy in the air. I twiddled my thumbs nervously while listening to the clunking of something akin to washing running shoes in the machine. Finally, the machine stopped. I held my breath as I opened the door. And there they were, 7 lbs of very clean, firm cukes. At this point, I knew that all would turn out well.
If you dare, this is approximately what I did:
- Put cucumbers in the washing machine and run through the gentle cycle.
- Put cucumbers in kitchen sink, cover with cold water and soak overnight.
- In the morning, drain the water.
- Sterilize mason jars (the amount you need will depend on how many cukes you have).
- Boil the required number of lids for a min. of 8-10 minutes to soften the rubber ring.
- Make brine: Approximately 4 cups of pickling vinegar, 12 cups of water, 3/4 cup of pickling salt, sugar to taste if you want a little bit of a sweeter pickle.
- Bring brine to a good boil.
- Fill jars one at a time. I stuff dill, mustard seed and chopped onion in the bottom of mine and then pack in the cucumbers. Pack the cucumbers tight. It's amazing how many can fit in one jar.
- Cover with simmering brine.
- Clean the rim of the jars to ensure there isn't any salt or other residue to prevent the jars from sealing. Put on lids and tighten rings.
- Process jars. If any don't seal, keep them in your fridge where they will keep for quite some time.