I love the old fashioned pickles and preserves. A table set with a variety of ‘sweets and sours’ is a Pennsylvania tradition. Many of the old recipes call for long cooking, but we have less time because many of us are responsible for work and cooking.
I am taking away my excuses because I found this old recipe. I am going to cut the recipe in half. We shall see. Enjoy your sweet and spicy mustard pickles and think of me: not cooking. At least not today. It’s 92.
Botanical Illustration by Katie Turner.
I got this recipe from Pickles and Preserves by Marion Brown. Marion Brown was a prolific cook and food writer of the 1950s. Ms. Brown contributor, Mrs. Noel Houston of Chapel Hill, tells us this recipe comes from antiquity. It’s a perpetual pickle; you eat from it and you add to it.
Toss-In-The-Crock Mustard Pickle
Choose a large crock of four to six gallons. Choose any assortment of hard vegetables that might take to pickling. Example: cucumber, cabbage, hard green tomato, string beans, cauliflower, onion, artichokes, etc. Wash and dry the vegetables and cut them in appropriate sizes. Use small ones like white pickling onions whole. Pack the crock and pour the following sauce over the vegetables. Make sure the sauce covers the vegetables in the crock completely. Weighting them down with a small plate works well.
6 quarts vinegar
1 pound salt
1 ounce each of: whole cloves, allspice, ground ginger, black pepper and celery seed
2 ounces white mustard seed
2 and ½ pounds brown sugar
1 T cayenne pepper or substitute 1 ounce each of mace, nutmeg and dry horseradish
Boil the vinegar with the other ingredients for 8 minutes. Cool. Make a paste of:
1 pound dry mustard
1 ounce turmeric
Mix mustard and turmeric in vinegar to make a paste. Mix paste with the vinegar syrup and blend well. Pour the cold sauce over the vegetables. Close the crock and let stand until pickled. Usually a few days are all it takes. Taste and see. The pickle may be continually stored at room temperature. As you add more vegetables, then add more sauce. Yes, you may use frozen vegetables in winter.