Westport River Barrel Cukes Recipe
"Canning Recipes Online"

4 1/2 pounds (3- to 5-inch) pickling cucumbers, blossom ends removed

1-2 handfuls small fresh chiles of your choice, stabbed or slit twice

1 large head garlic, cloves peeled and minced

1 cup peeled, grated fresh horseradish

1 large onion, peeled and sliced into disks about 1/2 inch thick

1 handful dill heads or fronds (optional)

2 tablespoons yellow mustard seed

2 tablespoons coriander seed, cracked

1 tablespoon black peppercorns

4 bay leaves, crumbled

1 handful grape, sour cherry or oak leaves, well washed (optional)

8 cups water

1/2 cup white wine vinegar

5 tablespoons kosher or other coarse salt

In giant bowl, combine cucumbers, chiles, garlic, horseradish, onion, dill, mustard seed, coriander seed, peppercorns, bay leaves and grape leaves. Pack mixture into a wide-mouth gallon crock or jar.

In large separate nonreactive bowl or pitcher, combine water, vinegar and salt to make the brine, stirring until the salt dissolves.

Cover cucumbers with a plate, then weight the plate down with a clean stone, a brick or whatever is available; the idea is to keep the cucumbers submerged as they pickle. Add enough of the brine to cover the cucumbers by 2 inches or more.

Cover with a clean cloth and store at room temperature 4-7 days, taking care to keep the contents submerged at all times and to skim any foam that may form on the brine's surface every day or two.

Pickles are done when their pale green color is mostly the same inside and out - or when they just taste so good your discipline falls apart. They will keep, covered and refrigerated, for a month, but they start to soften unless you have included plenty of grape, cherry or oak leaves. To freshen the flavor of the brine, strain the solids out of the liquid, bring the brine to a boil, cool to room temperature, and reimmerse the cucumbers and other vegetables in it, discarding the original flavorings and freshening the flavor with more of those same flavorings.

Makes 4 quarts

Source: "Quick Pickles - Easy Recipes with Big Flavor

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