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Hunter: Those Wonderful Pickles

08/24/10 5:55PM By Edith Hunter
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(HOST)  This time of year, it can be hard to keep up with the cucumber crop. Fortunately, commentator Edith Hunter has a solution.

(HUNTER) When the cucumbers first start being brought in from the garden, they are greeted with joy. But, very soon, the flood begins and the thought of pickling is inescapable. For me this has always brought up the vision of jars to be washed and hot water baths to be wrestled with. Last year, pickling was not really something I felt up to.

And then, my daughter sent a wonderful new pickling recipe. Her neighbor Helen gave her the recipe for "Minnesota Pickles, Maudie Young's Recipe."  This is what is called for:

                  7 Cups cukes sliced very thin
                  1 Cup green peppers chopped
                  1 Cup onions chopped
                  1 Tablespoon celery seed
                  2 Tablespoon pickling salt
                  2 Cups sugar
                  1 Cup vinegar
                  pinch of alum

Stir celery seeds, sugar, vinegar, salt and alum until sugar is completely dissolved. Put cucumbers in jar, pour liquid over them, let sit for 15-20 minutes, then refrigerate. Will last in refrigerator 6 months or more. You can add cukes any time, just be sure they are submerged.

Son William was the one who was bringing in the cucumbers. He set right to work; made the sugar, salt, vinegar, and celery seed mixture, chopped the onions and peppers, and, miraculously found some alum. In no time he had sliced the cukes and soon had a large jar half-filled with cucumbers, all properly submerged. By lunch time we were ready to try them and found them amazingly crisp and delicious.

For the rest of the summer we kept adding to the jar and enjoying those wonderful pickles.
Last year Charles built a small trellis for the cukes to climb on. I had always just let them crawl around on the ground. This year Graham devised something quite magnificent. He put together a 5 foot high, 10 foot long metal frame of fiber glass. Inside of this he attached 5 inch by 5 inch squares of netting. He propped the whole thing up with fiber glass posts on either side so it won't blow over.
Charles planted two kinds of cucumbers beneath this trellis - 5 feet of salad cucumbers and 5 feet of pickling cucumbers. The plants flourished and it wasn't long before they started climbing up the trellis, and taking hold of the netting. We picked the first cukes on July 10th. I started giving them away on the 15th, and it looks as if we will be really flooded with them for the rest of the summer.

I will be making Helen's amazing pickles very soon, and it is probable that I will have to resort to traditional pickling as well.
Or perhaps I will be lucky and be able to give away all the surplus.

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