Adapted from: All About Pickling – Ortho Books, 1975
These are my all-time favorite pickle. If you like mild curry flavor you will love these.
4 pounds small to medium-size cucumbers (about 11-12)
2 gallons water
½ cup pickling lime
Fill a plastic tub with the cool water (tap is fine at this stage).
Add ½ cup *pickling lime (available on the Internet or in stores that carry canning and pickling supplies.) It doesn’t dissolve, so you will need to stir it up with a wooden (or metal) spoon.
Wash the cukes and trim the ends, especially the blossom end, which has an enzyme that could soften your pickles.
*Be careful with the lime. It is a fine powder and dust billows up. It’s not poisonous to inhale but it isn’t pleasant, either. Scoop, rather than pour or wear a painter’s mask or hold your breath.
Add the cukes to the lime solution and let them soak for 2-12 hours. Stir up the lime every once in a while. I do so about every ½ hour.
Remove the cukes and rinse, scrubbing off the lime.
Clean out your tub and place your cukes into the empty tub.
Fill it with enough ice water (or really cold water to cover them.
Let them soak for 2 hours. Rinse well.
In a large bowl, add 8 cups to a bowl big enough to old the cuke disks plus a few inches to spare, make a brine: 8 cups filtered water or non-chlorinated/non-fluoridated water and ½ cup pickling salt.
Slice the cucumbers into disks of about ½ to ¼ thick. I use my food processor slicer. There is a wee bit of waste but the convenience is worth it to me. I use a Bosch with an adjustable slicing tool. Follow the instructions for your machine.
Add cukes to the brine and weigh down with a plate or a plastic bag filled with a few cups of extra brine: 2 cups water plus 1/8 cup pickling salt. The weight keeps the cukes under the brine.
Let stand for 5 hours.
Sterilize as many pint canning jars as you think you will need plus a couple more. For this recipe, I usually get 5 pints but sometimes 7. Use two-piece canning jars, such as Ball or Kerr.
Sterilize in the dishwasher, by boiling the jars, or soaking them in a mild bleach or betadine solution. Soak in solution for about 30 minutes and rinse. No need to sterilize the screw bands but make sure they are clean.
Put the lids in a pan of water. Bring to a simmer. Turn off the heat and let them sit in the hot water. Reheat before canning. This softens the rubber seal so it will seal more reliably.
Meanwhile, fill a large canner kettle with water to the upper line with water (tap is fine).
Place a rack in the bottom. Most canners come with one but any rack that will fit will do. If you don’t have a rack, place a folded up terry kitchen towel in the bottom. Without this the jars might crack. They need to be up, off the bottom of the canner.
Add an 1/8 cup of vinegar if you have hard water. This will prevent hard water deposits from settling on your canner and on your jars.
Cover and bring to a boil. Let simmer on low or turn off the heat until you are ready to add your filled jars.
Drain the brined cukes and rinse thoroughly.
2 cups distilled vinegar (or apple cider vinegar if it is 5% strength to match the distilled)
2 ½ cups sugar
¼ cup mustard seed (yellow)
1 tablespoon celery seed
1 to 1/1/2 teaspoon curry powder (good quality)
Bring to a simmer then turn off the heat.
Run your jars under hot water or fill with boiling water to heat them up. You can alternative, add the jars to the canner to heat up then fish them out as you fill them. I find this cumbersome to do and just heat water in a tea kettle and pour into the jars to heat, then empty them to pack.
Line up your jars on a surface that has been covered with a kitchen towel.
For extra crispness assurance, add 1/8 teaspoon of Pickle Crisp (from Ball) to each jar.*
*Pickle Crisp is crystalized calcium chloride. Non-toxic and works like magic to keep processed pickles crisp. You can just use this and skip the pickling lime, but using both creates a commercial-grade crispness that either alone doesn’t seem to be able to do.
Using a wide-mouth funnel, pack cucumbers into hot jars. I use good quality rubber gloves to do this so I don’t burn my fingers.
For extra assurance of crispness, add
Place a large-mouth funnel in a jar. Fill with hot curry syrup to about 1/2 to 1/4 “ from the top of the jar.*
*Some canning funnels have a line on the inside of them to let you know where to stop.
Remove funnel and place into the next jar. Run a knife inside the jar and push against the cukes to release any air bubbles.
Continue until all jars are filled.
With a paper or cloth towel wet with vinegar, run the towel around the rim of the jars to remove any syrup or water.
Place a hot lid on each jar. Screw on the bands.
Uncover the canner and place the jars into the rack or the towel, leaving a small amount of space between each jar so they don’t touch each other.
Water should be at least 1 inch above the top of the jars. Add more hot water if necessary.
Cover canner and bring to a boil. When water is at a full rolling boil, set a time for 10 minutes*
*Adjust for your elevation. The USDA recommends:
1,001 to 3,000 feet, add 5 minutes
3,001 to 6,000 feet, add 10 minutes
6,001 to 8,000 feet, add 15 minutes
8,001 to 10,000 feet, add 20 minutes
Remove jars and place on a towel-covered surface or a wood surface. Cold tile or stone will probably crack your jars.
As the jars cool, the lids will “pop” securing the seal.
Let them cool several hours. Unscrew the bands and test the seal by pushing down on it. There should be no give. If a jar did not seal, refrigerate, and eat it within two months.
The next morning, test the seals by lifting up the jar by the lid. It should hold tight.
Store in a dark, relatively cool cupboard or cellar. They will stay crisp and flavorful for about a year.
NOTE ON PROCESSING:
Instead of boiling water bath, the USDA has approved Pasteurizing in water heated to 180-185 Degrees F. for 30 minutes. More information can be found on: https://extension.umaine.edu/publications/4044e/
To process using low-temperature pasteurization treatment, place jars in a canner filled halfway with warm (120 degrees F to 140 degrees F) water. Add hot water to a level 1 inch above jars. Heat the water and maintain a 180 degrees F water temperature for 30 minutes. Use a candy or jelly thermometer to be certain that the water temperature is at least 180 degrees F during the entire 30 minutes. Temperatures higher than 185 degrees F may cause unnecessary softening of pickles. This treatment results in a better product texture but must be carefully managed to avoid possible spoilage. Caution: Use only when recipe indicates.
After processing is completed, remove jars from canner with a jar lifter and place on a towel or rack. Do not retighten screw bands. Cool jars 12 to 24 hours and remove screw bands. Check lid seals. If the center of the lid is indented, the jar is sealed. Wash, dry, label, and store sealed jars in a clean, cool, dark place. If the lid is unsealed, examine and replace jar if defective, use a new lid, and process as before. Wash screw bands and store separately. Pickles are best if used within a year and safe as long as lids remain vacuum sealed.