By: Herald Staff Report, Grand Forks Herald
• Pick the freshest fruits and vegetables available.
• When pickling whole cucumbers, 2- to 4-inch cucumbers are best because you can get more in a typical canning jar.
• Before pickling, wash cucumbers thoroughly and check for blemishes.
• Use high-quality vinegar with a 5 percent to 7 percent acid content.
• Use sea salt or canning salt instead of table salt, which has additives.
• Never dilute the vinegar. Use more sugar if you want a less sour pickle.
• Use whole spices, not ground ones. Ground spices will make a cloudy brine and are harder to remove. Or package ground spices in a spice bag made of cheesecloth and tied with string.
• When “head of dill” is mentioned in a recipe, it usually means the flower. If you can’t find these, use 1 tablespoon dill seed to every 2 heads of dill stated in the recipe. Or consult the herb and spice guide at www.schwartz.co.uk.
• Avoid using metal bowls, plates and sieves, brass or copper preserving pans, pitted or buckled pans because vinegar will corrode them.
• Use only stainless steel knives and utensils.
• Use sterilized containers for packing pickles and leave recommended space between top of food and rim of its container.
• Use fresh lids to ensure a seal. Jar rims can be sterilized and reused.
• Store pickles in a cool, dry place after packaging.