Monday, 22 August 2016

Pickling Season

My Mom's Marvelous Mustard Pickles

I just cooked up a batch of my mother's mustard pickles. These are a real family favorite and I have made copies of her recipe for friends and relatives over the years. I have no idea where she got this recipe but, it being older than I am, I hope I will not infringe some dusty copyright if I publish it here for Internet friends who have requested it. 

Some Photos to Whet Your Interest

Prep the Veggies
Even after the boiling water bath and rapid chilling, a big bunch of silverskin onions takes forever to peel — but it is worth it. When I was a child, I used to try to score at least one of these tiny treasures any time the pickles were served.

Speaking of serving, in our family, these are essential with roast beef (hot or cold) and grilled cheese sandwiches. Mom would put a few pickles inside a grilled cheese but, after a mouth burn or two, I am prefer having them on the side!

You Need a Big Kettle

Day 1, you salt the veggies and let them brine overnight. Day 2, drain them, add sugar, vinegar and spices then bring to a boil and cook.

At this point, the kitchen begins to smell quite amazing.

Of course, you must sterilize your canning jars. I used the dishwasher on the hot setting because my big canning kettle is the only thing that will hold all the veggies, sugar and vinegar.

This Is Your Reward

This photo shows some of the yield — I already gave away a few jars.

Before I supply the recipe, here are the mandatory safety warnings.

1. I have always wax sealed these and no one has ever fallen ill but, if you want to do them in a boiling water bath, you can but would need two huge kettles or you could bottle the pickles, cap and hold while you wash the kettle, fill with enough water and process as for canning fruit.

2. If you are using paraffin wax, the recommended way to melt it is over simmering water. My method (use at your own risk) is to put the wax in a small, heavy metal pan with a pouring spout and melt it on very low heat on the stovetop. Be sure there is no wax residue on the outside of the pot. You must not leave the room while the wax is on the stove — if it shows any sign of smoking, get it off the heat at once. Also, I would NEVER try this on a gas burner.

Okay, here is Mom's recipe.

2 field cucumbers            24 pickling cucumbers
1 ½ lb. large onions          2 lb small silverskin onions
3 green peppers                3 red peppers
1 large cauliflower            1 cup coarse salt
Slice cucumbers, large onions, peppers (a bit less than ¼ inch think). Separate cauliflower into small pieces. Blanch small onions for 2 min in boiling water, plunge into cold, then peel.
Place all in large canning kettle and sprinkle with the salt. Let stand 24 hours. Drain off liquid.

Add to vegetable mix:
8 cups sugar            8 cups (2.27 liters) white vinegar
2 oz  (57 g) mustard seed            3 oz (85 g) celery seed

Bring to boil and boil for 5 minutes. 

2/3 cup flour                  1.2 oz (2 heaping TBSP) tumeric
¼ lb dry mustard            
Stir in enough water to make loose paste, pressing out lumps to make as smooth as possible. Do not worry about a few small ones - they will vanish.

Add paste to pickles and boil for 5 more minutes. 

Seal in sterilized jars using two layers of paraffin wax.  

Makes 6-8 quarts or about 12 - 500 ml jars.