By Shirley Camp, MS, RD, LDN, retired University of Illinois Extension Educator
Yield: 5 quarts.
7 lb medium-size pickling cucumbers
1 cup Mrs. Wages® Pickling Lime
2 gal water
2 qt Mrs. Wages® Pickling & Canning Vinegar or other commercial white vinegar (5% acidity)
8 cups granulated sugar
1 Tbsp Mrs. Wages® Pickling & Canning Salt
1 Tbsp Mrs. Wages® Mixed Pickling Spice
Wash jars in hot soapy water, rinse well. Sterilize by boiling for 10 minutes; hold jars in hot water until use.
Wash cucumbers; remove 1/16-inch from blossom end and slice them crosswise. Mix pickling lime in water. Aluminum containers should not be used for the lime solution. Soak the cucumbers 2 hours or overnight in the lime water, stirring occasionally. Rinse 3 times in cool water and soak 3 more hours in ice water. In a bowl, make a syrup of vinegar, sugar, and salt. Stir until all ingredients are dissolved. Remove cucumbers from the final ice water soak, drain slices, and pour syrup over them. Let the mixture set for 5-6 hours or overnight. Add pickling spice to taste.
Drain the syrup off the cucumber slices into a saucepan and simmer it for 35 minutes. Pack the cucumber slices into hot quart jars. Pour boiling syrup over the slices, covering them and leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Adjust lids. Process pints 10 minutes, quarts 15 minutes in a boiling water bath.
A Note About Lime: Use only food-grade lime. You may use it as a soak for fresh cucumbers 12-24 hours before pickling them. Remember, excess lime MUST be removed to make safe pickles.