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Fermenting Some Pickles

August 16th, 2009

A couple weeks ago Mr Chiot’s 2nd mom sent me this book that was her mom’s. It’s an old Farm Journal Country Cookbook. It’s from the 70’s so all of the photos are quite fun, it’s amazing how far food photography has come since then (just check out
While leafing through it I was trying to decide what I could make from it. It has all kinds of exciting recipes, it’s particularly good for seasonal cooking recipes. It also has some interesting kitchen items that most people don’t keep in their kitchens any more, like a stone or a paraffined brick.
I came across this recipe for 14-day Sweet Pickles. Since I’ve been wanting to make a batch of brined pickles I decided this would be the perfect recipe to try.
I now have a batch of pickles in the dining room brining away. They’ll sit in their brine for, then on the 8th day I start the week-long process of finishing the pickles. I’m kind of excited to see how they turn out. I’ll be sharing some with Brian’s parents next time they come for a visit.

14-Day Sweet Pickles
adaptation of an heirloom recipe long prized in country kitchens

3 1/2 qts (2″) pickling cucumbers (about 4 lbs)
1 c. coarse flake pickling salt
2 qts boiling water
1/2 tsp powdered alum (I’m not using alum in my recipe)
5 c. vinegar
3 c. sugar
1 1/2 tsp celery seeds
4 -2″ cinnamon sticks
1 1/2 c. sugar

1. Wash cucumbers carefully; cut in lengthwise halves and place in stone crock, glass, pottery or enamel-lined pan (I cut mine into big chunks).
2. Prepare brine by dissolving salt in boiling water; pour over cucumbers. Weight cucumbers down with a place almost as large as the crock and lay a stone or parraffined brick (not marble or limestone) on plate to keep cucumbers under the brine. Let stand 1 week.
3. On the 8th day, drain; pour 2 qts fresh boiling water over cucumbers. Let stand 24 hours.
4. On the 9th day, drain; pour 2 qts fresh boiling water mixed with alum over cucumbers. Let stand 24 hours.
5. On the 10th day, drain; pour 2 qts fresh boiling water over cucumbers. Let stand 24 hours.
6. The next day, drain. Combine vinegar, 3 c. sugar, celery seeds and cinnamon; heat to boiling point and pour over cucumbers.
7. For the next 3 days, drain, retaining liquid. Reheat liquid each morning adding 1/2 c. sugar each time. After the last heating, on the 14th day, pack pickles into hot jars. Remove cinnamon sticks; pour boiling hot liquid over pickles; adjust lids. Process in boiling water bath (212) 5 minutes. Remove jars and complete seals unless closures are self-sealing type. Makes 5-6 pints. (current standards say to process pickles for 10 minutes in a water bath canner).

Do you have any old heirloom cookbooks in your kitchen? Have you ever made a recipe from it?

15 Comments to “Fermenting Some Pickles”
  1. kristin on August 16, 2009 at 7:28 am

    We have a replica of the first edition of “Mrs. Beeton’s Guide to Household Management.” It was written at the end of the 19th century, I think. Her meat chapters start with how to butcher the animals. We use it for things like how to dress a freshly killed turkey or what to do with pike, a fish people don’t seem to eat anymore. Pretty much anything so old-fashioned it’s not in “Joy of Cooking,” Mrs. Beeton comes to the rescue.
    .-= kristin´s last blog ..It Is Hot and Humid, Yes =-.

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  2. s on August 16, 2009 at 7:47 am

    Very cool–I love the horrible food styling in those too!

    We have a set of “the modern encyclopedia of cooking” which is from 1959. Like kristin’s it has butchering info and game recipes like for woodchuck and possom :)

    I have used some of the from-scratch recipes for basic comfort foods. I love the chili recipe, redundantly entitled “chile con carne with meat” (which I find amusing every time I make it).
    .-= s´s last blog ..canning season =-.

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  3. marcyincny on August 16, 2009 at 10:22 am

    We’re cranking a batch in the old White Mountain Freezer this afternoon!

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  4. KitsapFG on August 16, 2009 at 12:03 pm

    Nothing in my recipe book library of that vintage but have looked at some in used book stores and had passing ideas of potential purchase. The jars of brining pickles are pretty to look at.

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  5. Cindy on August 16, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    I love old cookbooks! I just bought that very book off ebay for $0.99 a couple of weeks ago, seems like alot of the vintage cookbooks on pickling and canning have lots more unique recipes then any ‘new’ book I own. Recently I made some “Ginger-Tomato Preserves” using a recipe from the 1963 Farm Journal Canning cookbook, seemed like an odd combination at first, but once it was done simmering it smelled lovly and since I used red and yellow tomatos looked nice in the jar. Theres a few recipes for cantaloupe pickles and preserves I keep meaning to try out too.

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  6. Helen at Toronto Gardens on August 16, 2009 at 6:09 pm

    You inspired me to pull out some of my vintage cookbooks. One with a variety of pickles is my 1968 first edition of Food That Really Schmecks: Mennonite Country Cooking by Edna Staebler. I picked it up at a thrift store. One interesting recipe is “Grossmommy Martin’s Kuddlefleck.” Who wouldn’t want to try something with a name like that? (It’s a sweet/sour relish with corn, cukes, celery, tomatoes, onion and peppers.)

    I also pulled out my well-thumbed 1953 copy of Practical Cookery for All, sort of a British post-war Joy of Cooking. A classic. Mum died more than 20 years ago, so it’s odd to see her marginal notations beside the recipe for Bengal Chutney. In the preserves department, I remember her making Pickalilli from this book. The pages still smell faintly of cigarettes. Just burned an hour or so trying to ID the illustrator of this book, whose images (such as of a pepper shaker bowing to a saltshaker, or a cook chasing a turkey with a cleaver… you have to see it) charmed us as children. Lots of good recipes inside, but I’d have to remind myself what “caster suger” is or how much to measure when you need a gill.
    .-= Helen at Toronto Gardens´s last blog ..Bloomsday in the Country =-.

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  7. Helen at Toronto Gardens on August 16, 2009 at 6:10 pm

    Of course, you know I meant to write “caster sugar.”
    .-= Helen at Toronto Gardens´s last blog ..Bloomsday in the Country =-.

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  8. Beegirl on August 17, 2009 at 8:54 am

    I am laughing, I have the 1959 version on my shelf in the kitchen right now. May be the same one as yours, but the colored cover is missing on mine, so not quite sure? Must have picked mine up at a yard sale. Love it!!
    .-= Beegirl´s last blog ..Saturday Night =-.

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  9. warren on August 17, 2009 at 9:27 am

    When my wife’s grandma passed, she got her old cookbooks. The best part was all of the hand-written notes, changes, recipes written in the margins…it’s priceless!
    .-= warren´s last blog ..They got high =-.

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  10. Pampered Mom on August 17, 2009 at 4:01 pm

    I have a few vintage cookbooks in my kitchen – mostly from my Grandma (most of them, though, she’s bought at garage sales for me). I *love* them for their non-politically correct recipes and reliance on real food for ingredients.
    .-= Pampered Mom´s last blog ..Growing Calendula =-.

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  11. pam on August 17, 2009 at 7:46 pm

    I have some of my grandmother’s, plus mine from college are from the 70’s and are now vintage! (Like me).
    .-= pam ´s last blog ..Leftover Chicken Pasta =-.

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  12. Patricia Stockham on March 14, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    Bonnie Slotnick passed on your web site & from cold England I want to say how I love American recipes & make a wonderfull array of pickles & jams & chutneys each year ( mostly from USA cook books Thankyou

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    • Susy on March 14, 2010 at 2:53 pm

      Thanks for stopping by! We’ve sure been enjoying these pickles all winter.

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  13. Patricia Stockham on March 17, 2010 at 9:49 am

    I just HAD to return to your wonderfull web site ( I don’t have one YET) too new on computer, I collect old cook books & funny (I thought) that whenI wanted to make some sugar doughnuts without yeast I found a lovely recipe in a copy of Mrs Beeton!!!!Never dreamed it would be in there!! Friends all over ask me for recipes ( one from SPAIN wanting Bananoffee Pie & i knew it wouldn’t be in an ” old” cook book but I found one. Thank you for a lovely web site

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  14. Stephanie Grieve on May 27, 2013 at 12:52 pm

    My parents have had this cookbook in their kitchen for as long as I can remember; I didn’t know what it was called because the cover had been ripped off. I grew up on the “Sour cream pancakes”, among other recipes from this thing. Very nostalgic.

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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