Cucumber season is nearing an end for us but we are still working our way through the pickle lexicon. Here’s one called “Gram’s Crock Pickles” that I like for a semi-sweet tang. I also like that you can use somewhat larger than usual cucumbers for these pickles and remove the seeds. Somehow a few cukes manage to avoid detection and grow bigger than we would like. Use them here.
This is another recipe from “Pickled” by Lucy Norris. These are similar to the mustard pickles we wrote about earlier, a recipe some people objected to because it calls for artificial sweetener. Note the cloudiness of the brine from powdered mustard. These pickles are a bit less sweet and more full flavored, owing to a generous use of cider vinegar.
To make 3 quarts:
3 pounds pickling cucumbers
4 cups cider vinegar
1/4 cup pickling salt (or sea salt without additives)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup powdered mustard
Trim both ends from cucumbers. Cut cucumbers into quarters (spears) and scoop out seeds. Tightly pack cucumbers into clean quart jars.
In a non-reactive bowl, mix vinegar, salt, sugar and powdered mustard. Pour brine over cucumbers to cover and screw on lids. Let pickles rest for at least 2 days, or until the cucumbers turn from green to brown. Store in refrigerator.
The pickles will be ready to eat after a few days. Don’t be afraid to test one as your appetite mounts. According to Norris, they will stay crisp for a month, but will remain edible for six months. If you were careful to remove the blossom end of the cucumbers they will stay crisp longer. The blossom end contains an enzyme that likes to turn pickles soft.