When I was growing up fall was pickling season in our house. We’d arrive home from school in October to the sinus-clearing scent of cider vinegar simmering on the stove and tins of liquid paraffin in a water bath that you could dip your fingers in to make finger molds.
Our home had a cold room and by November its shelves sagged under the weight of jars of jams, chutney, spiced currants, crab apple jelly a beautiful blush of clear pink, zucchini relish, mustard pickles, pickled beets and my favourite, Lady Ashburnham pickles. There were huge mason jars of dill pickles and my dad’s favourite, chow chow made with green tomatoes.
Not much was labeled, save for the year, and in that dim room it was often hard to discern the difference between a jar of raspberry jam, and say, a jar of spiced currants. (Spiced currants and peanut butter are not a delightful combination.)
Mom doesn’t pickle like she used to but one recipe she makes each year is freezer pickles. This is the easiest pickling recipe out there and makes a sweet pickle that maintains its crunch. It keeps in the freezer so no cold room required. The recipe is from a dear friend who used to be our neighbor at the cottage.
Betty’s Sweet and Crunchy Freezer Pickle Recipe
- 8 cups thinly sliced pickling cucumbers
- 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
- 2 Tbsp. coarse salt
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup cider vinegar
- Combine cucumbers, onions and salt in a large bowl and refrigerate for 3 hours. Drain well.
- In a large pot combine 2 cups sugar with one cup cider vinegar and warm over low heat, stirring constantly until sugar has dissolved. Cool.
- Add drained cucumbers, mix well and spoon into bottles, leaving room at the top – the contents will expand as it freezes.
- Freeze in bottles.