As the French would say,
It’s Time For Mise en Place
(putting in place)
- Fill a water-bath canner 3/4 fill with hot tap water, cover, and heat to high.
- Thoroughly wash all produce. Trim blossom end of cucumbers(the lighter, striated side) and discard. Slice cucumbers into 1/4 to 3/8-inch chips or preferred shapes and sizes. Slice ginger into roughly 1/8-inch pieces. Trim Chilies and slice in hair, if using. (Wash hands thoroughly afterward.) Set aside
- Add two vinegars, water, and salt to a medium stockpot and bring to a low simmer.
- While vinegar mixture is coming to a simmer, add 3 ounces sliced ginger, lemon zest, and half each of the peppercorns, mustard, and celery seed. Add cloves. (To avoid straining brine later, seasonings can becombined in cheesecloth and tied into a sachet. Reserve.)
- Add maple syrup to the simmering brine and stir well to combine. Add the cheesecloth sachet if using and keep mixture at a low simmer for 10 minutes.
- Prepare Jars: In each jar, add a few thin slices of ginger, fresh dill, 1/2 of a chili (if using), and a small pinch each of the reserved celery seed and peppercorns. Add cucumber chips to fill the jars to within 1/2 to 1/4-inch of the top. The pack should be fairly tight and dense.
- Strain brine (or remove cheesecloth sachet) and carefully fill jars to within 1/4 inch of the top. Wipe rims and threads of jars with a clean cloth. Add lids and bands, tighten the jar "finger-tight" (as tight as your fingers can get it without exerting any extra force).
- Process in boiling water-bath canner for 12 minutes to sterilize. Remove jars from canner and let cool for 12 hours.
Unwaxed pickling cucumbers, usually known as Kirby, are available at Asian or international markets. (Standard cucumbers are not recommended.) Kosher or coarse salt is not recommended. If grade-A maple syrup is not available, use 1 cup brown sugar. -Recipe courtesy of Evan Tanner,