But feel free to omit the alum.
Hydrated potassium aluminum sulfate, or alum, helps keep pickles crisp; the aluminum ions reinforce the pectin in the cell walls, mitigating damage from the heat of the canning process. But most recipes don’t use it anymore, because shorter processing times in modern recipes avoid much of the softening that used to occur from the heat. A much more important technique is to trim and discard a sixteenth of an inch off of the blossom end of the cucumber (which looks like a rough dot, rather than a smooth one). It contains enzymes that can soften the pickles.
And if you can’t tell them apart, hey, cut ’em both off.
From the box of C.N. sold in De Soto, Kansas.
50 medium cucumbers
1 c. whole mustard seed
1-1/2 c. sliced onions
1/2 c. salt
1 Tbsp. celery seed
2 qt. vinegar
1 Tbsp. alum
1-1/2 c. oil
- Slice cucumbers thin without peeling.
- Slice onions thin. Put layer of cucumbers, then onions and cover with salt. Let stand 4 hours. Drain. Mix celery seed and mustard seed. [See notes below.] Then let it stand 3 weeks before using.
3-4-5 mixed up.
At the point where it says to see the notes, here’s what’s supposed to happen:
- Cover the pickles with vinegar and let sit four hours.
- Drain the vinegar into a saucepan. Bring to a boil, adding oil, sugar, celery seed and mustard seed.
- Pour over pickles. Process using a modern canning method.
- Let sit for at least a week before tasting.
Yesterdish reminder: Use a modern canning method.