Joe Loftin Smith's Pickles:
Fresh jalapeno peppers OR Pickling cucumbers (whole, cut lengthways or into small chunks or sliced) OR whole green beans OR Fresh asparagus
Canning or Kosher Coarse Salt (no iodine)
Boiling onions OR chunked onions
Red cider vinegar
Dill weed (fresh if possible)
Option: Mustard or celery seed (highly recommended)
Sterilize everything close to the kitchen with bleach and water - sink, counter tops, etc. - rinse. Carefully wash and rinse the jars, shake dry and place in 275 degree oven with their mouths upwards.
5 quarts water
2 1/2 quarts red cider vinegar
2 1/2 cups salt for peppers
1 1/4 cups salt for pickles, jardiniere, green beans and okra (some add up to 1/2 cup more)
The above ingredients make enough brine for 12 quarts of pickles. Mix everything in a large metal pot with a lid. It takes about 2 cups of brine to do a quart of veggies (seems I always need just a little more). Bring to a boil and turn
burner down to keep the solution simmering hot.
Place peppers, green beans, asparagus (trimmed on the bottom) or cukes (cut 1/2" off blossom end of the latter), 1 large bag of peeled carrots, small pieces of cauliflower and onions in a sink filled with warm water. Use any combination or just one veggie, like string beans. Scrub and drain everything at least twice to remove dirt, leaves, and slime. Prepare all the garlic you can stand to peel (don't over-blanch in the hot water) or you can use the prepared chopped type.Rinse the latter before using.
As the brine heats assemble canning tools and place rings and lids in slow boiling water as with any canning. Clean all of the counter tops and stove.
Put clean towels on cabinets to contain spills and insulate jars to prolong heat. Wash the veggies, place in a large pot or in a very clean sink and cover with hot water to preheat them. Drain and repeat 2-3 times during the process.
When doing dill pickles, cut a few cukes lengthwise to facilitate packing the jars.
Cut the sharp top off of each jalapeno pepper and put one in each jar of dill pickles, green beans, etc. I do not cut off the tip when I do just jalapeno peppers alone.
Remove a hot jar from the oven and add 1/4-1/2 tsp peppercorns, 1/4 tsp dill seeds, 1/4 tsp celery (or mustard) seed and a small amount of real dill weed to the jar. Then quickly pack it with the hot veggies - mixing large and small pieces. Use the packing tool that comes with canning kits to pack the jars as full as possible.
I usually do not add the cauliflower and carrots except when I am making jardiniere.
Keep everything hot - do not answer the telephone!
Fill the jars slowly to the top with the hot brine, keeping air in the jar to a minimum. Wipe salt, fluid and debris from jar tops - most important! Carefully place lid and ring on each jar - tighten very snugly.
Place all jars upside down on a very thick layer of towels and cover/wrap them in more towels to retain heat. Prolonged heat, salt, vinegar and heat from peppers makes it unnecessary to water-bath or pressure cook the whole mess. Only great crunchy veggies result. Properly wrapped, the warm jars will be sealed the next morning. Those that do not seal can be put in the back of the fridge and eaten first. Let age as long as you can stand it before eating - at least 1 month for pickles, slightly longer for jardiniere and 3 months for jalapeno peppers and beans.
Disclaimer: Use at your own risk. Since this doesn't water-bath or any other methods of preservation, I don't claim that this is safe to eat. However, I believe that this brine is strong enough that everything is 'preserved'. Many
people preserve things using brine without any ill effects. Growing up, there was a country store (that had a dirt floor, I might add) that had a huge wooden barrel full of brine that they sold pickles out of. As they sold, they just
dumped more pickles into the brine. No refrigeration at all. But since we live in a society where everyone sues everyone else, I feel the need to post this disclaimer.
McCurtain County, Oklahoma