Volume III, No. 4, Summer 1976
by Nancy Honssinger
Gone are the days when a housewife had to put up all her own jams, jellies, pickles and preserves. Today all she has to do is go into a supermarket to pick and choose from whole shelves of tempting items.
When the Ozark homemaker used to hustle and bustle around her kitchen getting ready to preserve or pickle, she was far from being "cool as a cucumber." She spent hot summer mornings in her garden, selecting choice cucumbers and even hotter summer afternoons, cutting, slicing, spicing and transforming those ordinary cucumbers into crisp, crunchy pickles--dills, sweets and bread and butter--to last through the fall and winter months ahead.
Finished at last, she would look with real pride and satisfaction at the stone and glass jars of bright green pickles lining the cellar shelves.
Place cucumbers in a stone jar or a granite container in brine strong enough to float an egg. Weight them down in the solution by placing an old plate which will fit just inside the top of the jar and putting a heavy rock on top of the plate. The rock should be a hard one which will not dissolve in the salt brine. To keep dust and mold out of the pickles, some people would put a clean white cloth or feed sack under the plate. Let stand two weeks. Take pickles out of the brine and soak in fresh water for 24 hours. To one gallon of vinegar add 2 tablespoons sacchrine and one teaspoon powdered alum. Tie one tablespoon each of dill and mixed spices in a cloth and boil in the mixture. Pour vinegar solution, including the bag of spices and dill over the pickles. Let set for 24 hours. Reheat solution and pour over pickles again the second morning. Weight down. Leave pickles in the jar until used. The best place to store pickles is in a cellar or basement.
Wash and pack in an open stone jar three dozen medium sized cucumbers (5 inches long). Pour over them a hot strong brine consisting of about 2 pints of salt. Let stand one week or more, weighting them down as in the dill recipe. Then drain, cut cucumbers into pieces, if desired, and then cover witk boiling water in which has been dissolved a lump of alum the size of a walnut. Cover the top with horseradish leaves and let stand overnight. Drain, leaving horseradish leaves, cover again with boiling water and let stand until cold. Drain and wipe dry; Mix together 8 cups of sugar, 5 pints pure vinegar, one ounce (or one tablespoon) celery seed and 2 large sticks of cinnamon. Bring solution to a boil and pour over pickles. Drain, reheat and pour this solution back over the pickles. Let it stand overnight each time. Do not seal, but store in an open jar, always keeping pickles weighted under the brine. Leave the horseradish leaves on top for good green color.
EIGHT DAY PICKLES
First day - Cut one peck of medium sized cucumbers into 1/2 inch slices (or desired cut). Place in a stone jar, cover with cold water for 24 hours and then drain.
Second day - Add 2 cups of salt, cover with boiling water and let set overnight.
Third day - Drain off salt water, heat enough fresh water to cover cucumbers. Add 1/4 pound powdered alum to water and when boiling, pour over pickles.
Fourth day - Drain water off cucumbers. Prepare enough vinegar solution (in proportion of one quart of vinegar to 4 quarts water) to cover pickles. Pour over pickles when boiling hot.
Fifth, 6th and 7th days (all the same) - Reboil the vinegar solution and cover pickles as on the fourth day.
Eighth day - Drain well and pack pickles in sterile glass jars. Boil together 5 cups of sugar, 5 cups vinegar, 1/4 cup celery seed, 1/4 cup mustard and one onion. Remove the onion after boiling. Cover pickles with boiling liquid and seal.
Copyright © 1981 BITTERSWEET, INC.