Stories of life on our farm in Northwest Georgia where every day is an adventure in this beautiful spot that God has entrusted to our stewardship.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I'm Pickled Tink!

Even though we had cucumbers coming out our ears, I hadn't considered making pickles.  I hate sweet pickles, and the home-made dill pickles I remembered were soggy and mushy.  My friend Julia said her mother could make anything, including all kinds of pickles, but she could never make crunchy dill pickles.  My mom was the same.  She tried for many years, but neither of our moms ever found the secret.  I certainly didn't think that I could succeed where Mom had failed, so I just gave the extra cucumbers away.
Then one of the blogs I follow shared a recipe for crisp dill pickles, promising that "Pickle Crisp" was the magic ingredient for quick, easy, and crunchy dill pickles, used with Ball brand dill pickle mix.  So when Herb was making a store run, I gave him a list.  Poor guy, it took two stores and four phone calls to finally find almost everything--except the Pickle Crisp.  Since I was missing the main secret ingredient, I decided to just follow the directions on the pickle mix he found, Mrs. Wages--with two differences.  (I can never leave a recipe alone, even the first time!)
My "Stocking Up" cookbook says that fresh horseradish or grape leaves added to each quart will make the pickles crisp.  I figured it couldn't hurt to try, so I stole a few leaves from our grape vines and put one on the bottom and one on the top of each jar.  I also added a bit of fresh dill stem and some dill blossom inside each jar just for aesthetic interest.  Apart from that, I followed directions:
  • heated the vinegar and water,
  • dissolved the Mrs. Wages mix in the hot liquid,
  • sliced or speared about 5 lbs. of cucumbers which I place in the sterilized jars, 
  • poured the hot mix over the cucumbers,
  • and processed the jars for 10 minutes in a hot water bath.  The one thing I forgot to ask Herb to buy was a canning pot, and I would have been in trouble if Kara hadn't had a HUGE stainless pot that was perfect.
Within 15 minutes after being lifted from the boiling water, I heard "ping! ping! ping!" and three jars of pickles are done!  I'm just tickled pink!


  1. I'll save a jar for you all to taste when you come next time! We haven't opened the canned jars, but I made a pint of leftover slices with the brine and refrigerated it. They are wonderful! (The credit goes to Mrs. Wages!) Now it remains to be seen if the ones that have been canned stay crunchy.


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