Here is another easy and fairly fast recipe that I made the other day. I just put my jars in the dishwasher at the highest temperature, rather than do the whole water bath described by America’s Test Kitchen. The cucumbers are from my garden and the lone red bell pepper is the only one that lived in my garden. Happy to put the two together in the same recipe. My husband loves these on hamburgers or as my youngest son called them: “Hammaburgers”. I like them just plain as a side dish or on a slice of delicious bread.
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS
We wanted a bread-and-butter pickle with a crisp texture and a balance of sweet and sour—perfect for adding to a char-grilled burger. Most recipes combine cucumbers and onions in a spiced, syrupy brine; we cut back on the sugar and added red bell pepper for its fresh flavor and color. Cucumbers can lose their crunch when processed in a boiling water bath; we found that combining several crisping techniques gave us the best results. We tossed our sliced vegetables in salt to draw out excess water.
We added a small amount of Ball Pickle Crisp, which helps keep the natural pectin from breaking down, resulting in firmer pickles. Finally, rather than processing in a boiling-water bath, we employed a technique known as low-temperature pasteurization, which involved maintaining our pickles in a hot-water bath at a temperature of 180 to 185 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes—in this temperature range microorganisms are destroyed and pectin remains largely intact.
|2||pounds pickling cucumbers, ends trimmed, sliced 1/4 inch thick|
|1||onion, quartered and sliced thin|
|1||red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1 1/2‑inch matchsticks|
|2||tablespoons canning and pickling salt|
|3||cups apple cider vinegar|
|1||tablespoon yellow mustard seeds|
|¾||teaspoon ground turmeric|
|½||teaspoon celery seeds|
|¼||teaspoon ground cloves|
|½||teaspoon Ball Pickle Crisp|
1. Toss cucumbers, onion, and bell pepper with salt in large bowl and refrigerate for 3 hours. Drain vegetables in colander (do not rinse), then pat dry with paper towels.
2. Meanwhile, set canning rack in large pot, place four 1‑pint jars in rack, and add water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to simmer over medium high heat, then turn off heat and cover to keep hot.
3. Bring vinegar, sugar, water, mustard seeds, turmeric, celery seeds, and cloves to boil in large saucepan over medium-high heat; cover and remove from heat.
4. Place dish towel flat on counter. Using jar lifter, remove jars from pot, draining water back into pot. Place jars upside down on towel and let dry for 1 minute. Add 1/8 teaspoon Pickle Crisp to each hot jar, then pack tightly with vegetables.
5. Return brine to brief boil. Using funnel and ladle, pour hot brine over cucumbers to cover, distributing spices evenly leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Slide wooden skewer along inside of jar, pressing slightly on vegetables to remove air bubbles, and add extra brine as needed. 6a. For short-term storage: Let jars cool to room temperature, cover with lids, and refrigerate for 1 day before serving. (Pickles can be refrigerated for up to 3 months; flavor will continue to mature over time.) 6b. For long-term storage: While jars are warm, wipe rims clean, add lids, and screw on rings until fingertip-tight; do not overtighten. Before processing jars, heat water in canning pot to temperature between 120 and 140 degrees. Lower jars into water, bring water to 180 to 185 degrees, then cook for 30 minutes, adjusting heat as needed to maintain water between 180 and 185 degrees. Remove jars from pot and let cool for 24 hours. Remove rings, check seal, and clean rims. (Sealed jars can be stored for up to 1 year.)