I couldn't believe it, but last weekend when we were up at the cabin, we were STILL picking cukes. They just keep coming!
If you - like me - are still finding yourself with cucumbers–and have already made obnoxiously large batches of spicy cucumber salsa–then perhaps it's time to can these babies.
The great thing about cuke canning is it's very simple. Salsa Canning - which I LOVE - is not so simple. This one, though? Even someone new to canning can take this on.
Here's the Cath's classic cucumber canning recipe - straight from The Cabin Garden:
THE DAY BEFORE:
1. Wash the cukes. And slice them up, if you want. Can them how you like to eat them! Maybe you want some sliced cucumbers for your burgers? Maybe you prefer to munch on them whole, or put them in your amazing homemade Bloody Mary's (oh, is that just me?)....Prep them so they are ready for all of your pickle needs!
2. Prep the cukes: Dissolve ¾ cup salt in 2 gallons water. Pour the mix over the cucumbers and let stand for 12 hours.
3. Once you are ready to can, sanitize and rinse the jars and lids in hot water. Cath sanitizes and rinses them in the dishwasher, and then pulls them out at the last-minute before packing them. You want them hot when you put the cukes in.
3. While the jars are rinsing, boil the pickling liquid. (This recipe is for about 8 pounds of cucumbers, or 7-9 pints of cukes.)
-Combine 1.5 quarts vinegar, ½ cup salt (pickling, canning or sea salt only), 1/4 cup sugar, and 2 quarts water. If you want, you can add mixed pickling spices - like dill and mustard seed–tied in a clean white cloth. Heat this picking solution to boiling.
4. Pack the jars: Put a garlic bulb in the bottom of each jar, and then fill the jars with like-sized cucumbers. Sprinkle in 1/2 teaspoon of mustard seeds. Finally, stuff a bunch of dill into each jar. [How much is a "bunch"? A big floret, says Cath. Or however much you want!] Go for it.
5. Fill the jars with the pickling liquid: Once jars are packed with the cukes, garlic, seeds and dill, add the liquid mixture leaving 1/2 inch of headspace from the top of the juice to the top of the jar.
6. Put the hot lids on. Cath keeps the lids in a saucepan filled with water on the stove so they are ready to go. Be sure the tops of the jars are clean before lidding them. We typically wipe them off with a clean cloth to make sure the lids can get a good fit before twisting the lids on.
7. And then process: 15 minutes in boiling water for quart jars; 10 minutes for pint jars. Pull them out, and listen for the pop! It may take a day. If you aren't sure, press down on the center of the lid. It shouldn't click or pop back up. If it does, you can try and process them again.
Voila! For me, canning is always best done with friends, and wine. FYI.
For more canning specifics, here's another resource with lots of good info.
If you want some official how-to's, head on over to Rodale. Their approach is a little different–the recipe a little different–but a great resource.
Or, if you want an easier approach and skip all the work of the classic cucumber canning recipe - but still want the pickles – try the refrigerator variety. Piece of cake!