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Category Archives: Canning

Pickle Lore

Here is another clipping about making pickles that was from the Drover’s Telegram.  Sounds like a lot of pickles for one household to consume, but I remember my mother-in-law’s habit of putting lots of jars of condiments and likely pickles on the table each time she presented a meal.  Making really good pickles was something you took pride in if they turned out, especially after dedicating two-weeks of your life to making them.

Pickle Lore

Dear Hope: I read about the girl who is having a time making cucumber pickles.  I had a time learning to make them, too; I found out that I was using home-made vinegar, which was too strong, so that the pickles shriveled. Also, all such pickles made by the long method must be cut somewhere; the big ones in chunks, the medium ones lengthwise and the wee ones cut down about one-fourth to one-half inch cross-wise at the stem end.  Then, regular pickling slat, not table salt must be used.

Here is about the best all-around pickle recipe I have, and it is found in many books:

Place in a stone jar two gallons of cucumbers, large or small, or mixed.  Make a brine of two cups of salt and one gallon of water, and pour this brine boiling hot over the cucumbers; let stand one week.

At the end of the week, drain the cucumbers; cut them in chunks or cut the little ones as needed.  Make a solution of one gallon of boiling water  and one tablespoon of powdered alum; pour boiling mixture over the cucumbers.

Make this solution __________ and fresh three mornings ____________on, in all, and pour boiling ______________(over) the drained cucumbers.

On the fourth morning, drain the cucumbers again and make a solution of 6 cups of vinegar, 5 cups sugar, 1/3 cup of pickling spices, 1 tablespoon celery seed, and pour boiling hot over the pickles.

On the sixth morning, drain the liquid again, put on the stove, add one cup of sugar, and again pour boiling hot over the pickles.  they are now ready to seal.

This is a fine recipe, using all together, different sizes of cucumbers.

Now my very favorite pickles are the Crystals, but they are so rich for just every day use.l  I suppose every year there ia new cook, or someone who has mislaid this classic.

Put 25 cucumbers, dill size, into a jar.  Cover with one gallon of cold water and one quart of salt.  Soak two weeks.  Thy this time they will look like garbage, cut do not worry, they will come back, green and clear.  And that is not a misprint, one quart of salt is right, though it sounds tremendous.

After tow weeks, wash the cucumbers, cut in chucks and put back into ______and two tablespoons alum to one _________ of cold water.  Pour over cucumbers.  Let stand 224 hours.  Again, drain and wash cucumbers.

Now take one quart vinegar, two quarts sugar, and spices as follows:

One teaspoon mace
Two sticks cinnamon
1 tablespoon whole cloves

Boil this and pour over cucumbers.l  drain and boil this solution and pour boiling hot over the cucumbers for four successive days.l  On the fourth morning they are ready to seal.  They are not really quite cured now, but as weeks bo gy, they get better and prettier.  The huge amounts of salt and sugar give some kind of an elusive flavor, and they are truly crystal.  The boiling water does Something.


Fourteen Day Pickles

Mom had a theory:  With any good meal, you need something a little sweet, even if it’s just a pickle! I always thought this was very good advice, not because I shared her sweet tooth, but it seemed like something a connoisseur would surely agree with.  

I share Mom’s penchant for noticing something “new” and the fun it is to try something out I haven’t done before.  There were a couple of summers when I was the only kid at home anymore and Mom had the luxury of experimenting with some of the recipes she clipped from newspapers, etc. She definitely tried this one out as I can still picture the cucumbers steeping in crocks in the north kitchen. These were by no means one of my favorites, but I did appreciate that using alum is what helps to make pickles crisp.  I totally get why Mom needed to try this out, but also why she didn’t need to make these any more the next year…..
Fourteen Day Pickles

Cover 2 gallons cucumbers with boiling water in which 2 cups salt have been dissolved.  Let stand a week.  I put a plate or saucer on top and a weight to keep the pickles all covered with the liquid.

Eighth day, rinse off and cover with clear boiling water.

Ninth day, drain and cover with boiling water in which 4 tablespoons of alum have been dissolved.

Tenth day, drain, rinse off and cover with clear boiling water.

Eleventh day, split in halves or quarters according to size, or prick whole pickles several places with a fork.  If left wholes, 2 1/2 to 3 inches is about as long as they should be.  Cover with boiling syrup made of:

5 pints vinegar
6 cups white sugar
1 oz. stick cinnamon
1 oz. whole allspice

Twelfth day, drain off syrup, heat, add 1 cups sugar and pour again over pickles.

Thirteenth and fourteenth days, repeat the same as twelfth, adding 1 cup sugar each day.  Seal on fourteenth day — they can be left in open crock. — Mrs. Wayne Boysen, Route 3, Cedar Falls, Iowa.


Strawberry Preserves — from Burden Bearer, Indiana

This clipping is just a variation on the post I made in January 2012 about strawberry preserves.  How are strawberry preserves different from jam?   The preparation of fruit preserves today often involves adding commercial or natural pectin as a gelling agent. Before World War II, fruit preserve recipes did not include pectin, and many artisan jams today are made without pectin. My previous post did not include pectin, either.  Preserves usually incorporate the whole fruit, while jam may be produced from crushed fruit.

Strawberry Preserves

Dear Hope:

I want to give my recipe for strawberry preserves which I have used for several years. We like it best of all.

Pick, wash and stem 4 cups of strawberries, cover with 5 cups of sugar and let stand for 3 hours, or over night.  Then bring to a boil and boil for 8 minutes only.  Remove from heat and add 4 tablespoons lemon juice.  stir this in and return to stove and boil 2 minutes more.  Remove from stove and let stand till cold.  If you stir a little you will absorb the white froth from cooking.  When cold, put into jars and cover with paraffin was and lid.  Use wooden spoon — it goes easier.  I hear this over the radio from somebody’s grandmother — Burden Bearer, Indiana

Sweet Ripe-Cucumber Rings

If you grow cucumbers in your garden, don’t you just hate it when you find a cucumber that got really big because it was hiding from you?  Or what about when they grow so fast you just can’t keep up?  Oftentimes they will get just huge and their skin is more yellow than green.  Obviously this happened to Mom enough that she clipped this recipe for something to do with them.  I think I remember her experimenting with these once, but she didn’t like them well enough to do them again.  I suppose it didn’t help that Dad and my brothers probably didn’t load up on pickles at the dinner table. 

In my experience, cucumbers that grow too fast or make cucumbers late in the season are usually bitter.  I wonder if making sweet pickles overcomes that problem. Hmmmmm……

Sweet Ripe-Cucumber Rings

2 to 3 pounds large yellow cucumbers, pared and sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
2 cups vinegar
2 cups water

4 cups sugar
1 lemon, sliced thin
1 teaspoon whole allspice
1 tablespoon stick cinnamon
1 teaspoon whole cloves

Cut and soak the cucumbers overnight in a brine made by dissolving 1/2 cup salt in 2 quarts water.  Drain.

Remove soft centers of cucumbers.  Boil cucumbers in clear water twenty minutes.  Drain.  Mix vinegar, water, sugar and spices; boil five minutes.  Add sliced lemon.  Simmer cucumber rings in the syrup until they are clear. Pack rings into sterile, hot jars.  Cover with boiling syrup.  Seal.

Strawberry Preserves

When I was preschool age, we had a strawberry patch.  It was possible to sometimes have snakes in it.  Mom had a story about me being in the strawberry patch and a snake raising its head to strike and she was scared to death it would get me.  I suppose it was a harmless garter snake, but even so, that’s pretty scary for a mama to see.  My oldest brother and his wife had wild strawberries on their farm and I barely remember picking them once after he’d come home from the Korean War and settled on the farm. I’ve raised strawberries a few times myself.  Once, when we lived in McPherson, KS, I had them in the front of my rose garden by the patio.  We have an empty lot beside ours right now, and I have had strawberries there.  The last two years they haven’t done very well, but a few years ago we had a pretty good crop.  Now, I’m  really not a “picker”.  I’m a “planter” and a “weeder”, but my husband loves the harvest so he usually picks them for me.  My husband’s Aunt Rita, in Michigan, introduced me to freezer jam and it’s quite remarkable in the way it retains more of a fresh flavor.  I still like to make jam when we have an overabundance of them.

Now, when I make jams, jellies and preserves, I always use pectin like Sure-Jell or Pen-Jel.  I think this recipe is before those were commercially available, so to me it’s more like making candy when you cook it to a soft-ball stage or the like.  Perhaps Preserves are different from jams and jellies.  Do you know?

Strawberry Preserves

Combine alternate layers of sugar and fresh berries, using 2 cups of sugar to  quart of berries.  Let the berries stand in sugar overnight, or at least 8 to 10 hours, before cooking.  Or heat the berries and sugar slowly at a low heat until the sugar is dissolved, and then let stand overnight.

If berries have a chance to absorb sugar before the final cooking, the fruit and syrup will be less apt to separate.  Cook 1 quart of berries at a time.  Use a large saucepan, and heat quickly to the boiling point.  Boil from 10 to 15 minutes.

The preserves are done when the syrup falls from the spoon in thick heavy drops.  Place the pan in ice water to cool.  When the preserves are cool, remove the scum.  Pour the preserves into sterilized containers.  Cover with hot paraffin immediately.  Geraldine Acker, Illinois

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