Select large, thick green cucumbers and scrub lightly with a small vegetable brush; cover them with clear cold water, leaving a bit of the stem on, and let stand until the next day, then drain and examine carefully, discarding all that are soft at the ends. Cover the bottom of a wooden cask or large stone jar with a thin layer of common coarse barrel salt, pack the cucumbers on this in layers and cover with a brine strong enough to float an egg.
Spread a cloth over the top, tucking it in closely around the edges, and on this place a plate or board with a light weight on top, just heavy enough to keep the pickles well under the brine; then cover closely with a cloth or lid. Look after them frequently at first, afterwards only occasionally.
Wash off the scum which will probably come to the surface, and remove any soft pickles. In removing the cloth to wash them, take hold of each corner and lift out gently so that none of the scum can get back into the cask.
When ready to prepare the pickles for the table, wash off thoroughly, take out the desired quantity, return the cloth, board and weight, and cover closely. The brine must at all times cover the pickles in the cask. Cover those taken out with clear cold water and change it often until they are sufficiently freshened, which can be told only by tasting. Boiling water may be used to hasten the freshening. Put the freshened pickles in a granite ware or porcelain-lined kettle and cover with pure cider vinegar, diluted until medium strength. Measure the vinegar, and to each gallon, add eight red peppers and four thin rinds of horseradish root. Heat the pickles slowly to boiling, then remove to a stone jar, and by next day they will be ready for use.
The same vinegar may be used a second time, if after straining, sufficient fresh vinegar is added to it to give it the desired strength.
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