March 17th, 2016
TIP: To keep cucumber spears upright when packing them into jars, hold the jar with one hand in a silicone oven mitt, or with a dry towel, and tilt the jar toward you at about a 45-degree angle. Use the other hand or silicone-coated tongs to place the spears upright in the jar, leaning against the bottom inside wall. Gently shake the jar on the angle once it's full to help the pieces settle, adding more if necessary.
Scrub cucumbers gently under running water. Trim off 1⁄8 inch (3 mm) from each end and cut cucumbers lengthwise into quarters.
In a large bowl, layer cucumbers and ice cubes, using about one-quarter of each per layer. Add cold water to cover by about 1 inch (2.5 cm). Place a plate on top to weigh down cucumbers. Cover and let stand at a cool room temperature for 3 hours.
Meanwhile, prepare canner, jars and lids (see pages 7 to 8).
In a colander, working in batches, drain cucumbers. Set aside.
In a pot, combine sugar, salt, vinegar and 11⁄2 cups (375 mL) water. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often until sugar and salt are dissolved. Boil for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low and keep liquid hot.
Working with one jar at a time, place a heaping tablespoon (15 mL) of onion in hot jar. Pack cucumbers and 2 celery sticks into jar, leaving 1 inch (2.5 cm) headspace. Add 1⁄2 tsp (2 mL) mustard seeds and 1⁄4 tsp (1 mL) celery seeds. Pour in hot pickling liquid, leaving 1⁄2 inch (1 cm) headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace as necessary by adding hot pickling liquid. Wipe rim and place hot lid disc on jar. Screw band down until fingertip-tight.
Place jars in canner and return to a boil. Process for 10 minutes. Turn off heat, remove canner lid and let jars stand in water for 5 minutes. Transfer jars to a towel-lined surface and let stand for 24 hours. Check lids and refrigerate any jars that are not sealed.