View from the Garden: Pickle Fall Abundance on the East End

Preparation of small cucumber
Pickling is in! Photo credit: Zoonar/Thinkstock

October is a month of abundance in the garden and at area farm stands. Summer vegetables are still here and the fall ones are ripening. When I see cauliflower, I know it is time to make mustard pickles.

The following recipe was given to me years ago by a former co-worker named Julie. There are some foods that are so delicious that it is hard to believe…well this is one of those and I am happy to pass it on to you. I love it on a toasted cheddar cheese sandwich.

The following history was at the top of the page:

“Miss Cyrena Bateman Wilson said that this recipe was in use when her grandfather, at the age of 11, sold hard-boiled eggs to the Union soldiers guarding the ferry crossing of the Susquehanna River at Havre de Grace, Maryland in 1861”

Old Time Mustard Pickles
Yield: 15–16 pints

3 quarts cut cucumbers…sliced Kirby cucumbers or gherkins. Kirby cucumbers are best for pickling.
3 quarts cauliflower cut into small pieces
3 pints cut onions…halve small pearl onions, if possible
3 red peppers cut into 1/4” dice (I have used jarred cornichons and pearl onions. They hold up very well in the processing and add a lot of zest to the recipe.)
3 quarts Heinz cider vinegar
1/2 pound Colman’s dry mustard.  It is best to remove one heaping teaspoon of mustard, as the full 1/2 pound makes the pickle too strong
1 once turmeric
1 ounce celery seed
2 pounds granulated sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour

Using a kettle (enamel or stainless steel large enough to hold the above cut-up vegetables) make salt brine strong enough to float an egg. Put the cut-up vegetables (except the peppers and any jarred ones) in the brine and leave overnight. In the morning, drain and add the peppers, (anything jarred also), vinegar, sugar, and spices. Bring mixture to a boil. Reserve 1/2 pint of vinegar and use it to mix the flour and mustard into a smooth paste. Stir the mustard/flour paste into the vegetables while boiling. Stir vigorously while doing this. Boil the mixture half an hour, stirring occasionally. A soft boil is sufficient. Pack into sterile jars while hot and cap. Process in a water bath for 15 minutes.

If you use an enamel pot, take care not to boil the mixture too vigorously as it will tend to stick to
the pot.

This pickle is great to have on hand and makes a wonderful gift. You will not find anything like it on the grocery shelf. It is an “old time” recipe.

Thanks Julie. This recipe is one of my treasures.

Jeanelle Myers is a professional gardener, landscaper and consultant. For gardening discussion you can call her at 631-434-5067.

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