No, it isn't the season for pickle making. It's the season for pickle eating. I'm finally getting around to tasting the pickles I made last summer. I'm posting the recipes here so I know the good ones to use next summer when it is pickle making time again.
These are incredible. No, I didn't use watermelon rind, although that's what the recipe calls for - the white part of the watermelon rind. I used giant cucumbers that were somehow missed for a couple of weeks. They were huge, bright yellow, but still good. They make really good watermelon pickles.
These are technically a sweet pickle, but with a different flavor from most sweet pickles. They hold their crunch beautifully. I took a jar to a family party and had many requests to please give them jars of these pickles next Christmas.
The hard part will be ignoring the cucumbers long enough to let them get huge and yellow.
The recipe came from my old pickle making cookbook.
2-3 very large, ripe cucumbers (they turn bright yellow when ripe)
2 T. pickling salt
5 c. sugar
2 c. vinegar
1 T. whole cloves
1 t. ground allspice
1 T. whole peppercorns
1 large stick cinnamon, broken into small pieces
1 lemon, sliced
In the afternoon or evening, peel the cucumbers. Slice lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds and discard. Slice the cucumbers into 1/4" slices. You should have about 9 c. of slices.
Place the slices in a large ceramic bowl. You could use plastic or metal, but it might discolor or add a funky taste to the pickles. I use a large ceramic mixing bowl for pickles and it works great.
Sprinkle the salt over the slices. Add a layer of ice cubes. Add just enough cold water to cover the slices. Let them sit overnight on the counter.
In the morning, drain the slices. Rinse well with cold water. Set aside.
Prep five pint jars by washing if needed, then rinsing in very hot water. Divide the whole cloves, allspice, peppercorns, and cinnamon stick pieces between the jars.
In a large saucepan, mix the sugar and vinegar. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring well to dissolve the sugar. Add the cucumber slices. Simmer for 5 minutes.
Divide the slices between the jars. Push down if needed. Pour the hot syrup over the slices to fill the jars. If you need more liquid, use plain vinegar to finish filling the jars.
Wipe the rims and seal in a hot water bath according to your altitude. I processed my jars for about 10 minutes but I'm almost at sea level.
Let them sit in a cool, dark place for a month before enjoying.