Plenty Sweet Life

Grandma's Recipes One By One!

Beet Pickles

Today’s recipe is a bit controversial in our household. My husband hates beets. He didn’t want me to make these, but Grandma had 5 recipes for beets and Beet Pickles in her file. The idea is to make EVERY recipe in her file, and that’s what I’m going to do. I’ll just have to make only one beet recipe per year. Everyone we know may be getting some beet pickles. I remember that both of my grandmas made beet pickles and that they were only for special occasions. I didn’t mind them. They weren’t my favorite thing, but I didn’t mind them. I loved the spicy, almost christmasy flavor of them.

Beet Pickles

We’ll see if the hubs decides to try some of these.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Beet Pickles

This recipe calls for cooked beets to begin with, so I looked online to see how to do it – I’ve never cooked beets before (because my husband won’t eat them). The consensus was that you should boil them 25 minutes or until the skins come off easily. I did this, peeled them, cut them in half or quarters and we were ready to go.

The recipe also calls for pickling spices, so I made my own, but you can certainly use store-bought. I followed a recipe I found on the Taste of Home website.

Put 1/2 teaspoon of pickling spice in bottom of each pint jar.

Put cooked, peeled, cut up beets in jars.

Bring to boil:

2 cups vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar for these)

2 cup water

1 3/4 cups sugar

Put hot mixture over beets and seal (the National Center for Home Food Preservation says 30 minutes in the hot water bath for these).

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We planted beets in the garden this year, but they didn’t grow very well (too shady). I had to buy these at the farmer’s market. The lighter colored ones are golden beets.

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When cooked, the skins get dusty and almost come off in your hand. You can see here that I used my worst and most beat up cutting board so if the beets stained the board, no big deal.

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Just don’t let this happen. I changed into my worst working shirt and pants so if I splattered on myself, I wouldn’t care if they got stained. So what happened? I dropped a beet on my rug taking them out of the pot! Oh well, I was ready to get a new rug anyway. Now I have to – this isn’t coming off! You’ve been warned!

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Look at the pretty golden beets! What a great combo. I wonder if the golden beets will stay golden or if they’ll turn pink, too?

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Keep 1/2 inch head space at the top of the jar when adding the liquid.

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Voila! All done and ready to go! Can’t wait to try these! Now if I can just talk my husband into trying some . . .

 

 

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Turmeric Pickles

The recipe for today is another old one, judging by the use of the fountain pen. I’m sure Grandma wrote this recipe card out as she was preparing for her life as a wife and mother.  This photo of Grandma was taken on the farm where she grew up, about the time she got married.

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I’m sure as a young bride she was making new and interesting things like these pickles for her handsome new husband! These Turmeric Pickles seem a bit exotic for Grandma. They use a lot of spices and some of them are a bit unusual. I didn’t know what cassia buds were, so I had to look it up. Cassia buds are the unopened flowers of the cinnamon tree – a bit more floral than regular cinnamon. Well, I was doing these right away and didn’t want to order them online and have to wait, or spend an entire day driving around trying to find them, so I just used stick cinnamon.

Turmeric Pickles

Turmeric Pickles 2

I can’t wait to taste these!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Turmeric Pickles

Put in salt water for 2 hours:

1 dozen cucumbers, sliced very thin

1/2 dozen onions, sliced very thin

Drain.

Boil all together:

2 cups white vinegar

1 cup water

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon celery seed

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon whole mustard seed

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cassia buds (I used a half of a cinnamon stick in each jar instead)

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 teaspoon whole peppercorns

Add drained cucumbers and onions to spice mixture.

Heat thoroughly.

Put in jars and seal.

According to the National Center for Home Food Preservation, these should be in a hot water bath for 10 minutes when sealing the jars.

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My preference is a mandolin to get nice, thin slices.

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I only made a half recipe and it still looked like a mountain of cucumbers.

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This was my biggest bowl holding all the cucumbers and onions.

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Into the hot water bath they go!

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Use old towels unless you don’t care about getting yellow stains on your good ones. Turmeric does stain, and one of these jars leaked a bit before the “pop” and being sealed.

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The turmeric immediately starts to turn the cucumbers a golden yellow.

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They’re so beautiful!! I can’t wait to taste these spicy pickles!! Try this very old and exotic recipe with your cucumbers this year!

 

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Cucumbers in Vinegar

Today I’m wishing a Happy Birthday to my other grandma. This is such a great photo of her with her little sister. It says “Shoe Off” on the bottom of it, and you can see that the little sister has lost a shoe in the mud and Grandma is laughing about it!! They have on their “Sunday best”, and it looks like it may be springtime or an Easter Sunday photo, as you can see by the beautiful big hair bows and fancy dresses. I’m glad someone took this photo, while being not too happy, I’m sure, about their being in the mud in those clothes! So cute!

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Whoever took this also made sure to get the car in the photo!!! Ha!

I don’t think there’s an official name for today’s recipe. There really isn’t even an official recipe for this. These Cucumbers in Vinegar (as I’m calling them) come from this grandma. I always felt that these cucumbers were kind of an old-fashioned dish. This is the smell of summer in my other grandma and gramp’s house. They always had a great garden and they grew a lot of cucumbers and onions. When I was there for dinner or just staying over in the summer, I was in charge of making these. Since there’s no recipe card, I’ll just type it out here.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Cucumbers in Vinegar

Thinly slice a cucumber or two (I found a gigantic one hiding behind my vine and used that).

Sprinkle 2 -3 Tablespoons salt over top and mix thoroughly.

Let sit for 30 minutes.

Drain water (rinse salt off if desired – I leave it on).

Add 1/2 of an onion, thinly sliced.

Cover with apple cider vinegar.

Add 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

Let sit for at least 30 minutes.

Enjoy the fruits (or veggies) of your summer labor in the garden!

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I might use the mandolin for slicing the cucumber really thin, but this one was so big, I used a knife.

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I try to also slice the onion as thinly as possible.

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Mix in the onion and pepper after draining the water off.

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I used about 3/4 cup of vinegar for this batch because it was such a big cucumber, but I don’t think you typically need to use that much.

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These vinegar-y cucumbers are almost like a very quick pickle. They actually get better after a couple of days – if they last that long. The smell of the vinegar and onion and cucumber brings be back to the summer evenings of my childhood and helping grandma make these for dinner. Another old-fashioned comfort food!

 

 

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Watermelon Pickles

Ok. Today we’re in for something a little bit different. I have never made or even tasted Watermelon Pickles. They’ve always intrigued me, but it’s not something that we ever made in our family. Since it was in Grandma’s recipe file, I decided to give it a try. I really don’t know if she ever made these. The instructions are a little vague for someone who’s never even seen this kind of pickle, so I had to do a bit of a search online and I’ll try to explain things a little better as we go along.

Watermelon Pickles

Watermelon Pickles 2

Ok – here we go. . .

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Watermelon Pickles

Slice the watermelon into slices about 1 inch thick.

Cut the pink flesh off of the slice.

Cut the dark green outer rind off of the white part of the rind.

Cut rind into 1 inch cubes and soak overnight in the refrigerator in a brine of 1/4 cup salt to 1 quart water.

Cover pieces (I used a small plate upside down on top of the pieces in the pot to hold them underwater).

Drain cubes and rinse.

Cover with cold water and cook until tender.

Drain.

Cook 10 minutes:

4 cups white sugar

2 cups apple cider vinegar

2 cups water

2 inches of cinnamon stick, 1 Tablespoon whole cloves, and 1 sliced lemon tied in a piece of cheese cloth.

Remove spice bag after cooking this syrup for 10 minutes and add rind cubes to pot.

Simmer until cubes are translucent, about 1 hour.

I got 3 1/2 pints out of this and decided to put them in the refrigerator instead of sealing the jars in a hot water bath, but you can do whichever you prefer.

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The juicy watermelon and the rind cubes are so pretty.

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The cubes change color a bit after cooking.

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Adding the spices and vinegar change the color even more.

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The jars are pretty enough for gift giving, too!

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The finished pickles look like little jewels. The taste is definitely not what I expected. They don’t really taste like a pickle and they don’t really taste like watermelon. Like my daughter said, “they taste like Christmas!” Now I wish I had sealed them in the canner so we could keep them for Christmas. Oh well, there’s more watermelon rind to come this summer! Try these unusual pickles. You’ll be hooked!

 

 

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Refrigerator Pickles

I love harvest season! It’s always a great time of year and holds so many good memories for me. The whole family would always help with the preserving, canning, and freezing of vegetables from the garden – apples, peaches, corn on the cob, and anything else we could find to get us through the winter. It made me feel like we were pioneers and we just wouldn’t make it through if we didn’t do this. My garden never produces all that much to “can”- we usually eat most of the garden produce –  but I make these Refrigerator Pickles and use as many veggies as I can from our own garden and supplement with some from the Farmer’s Market if I need to.

Refrigerator Pickles

I changed this recipe just a bit.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Refrigerator Pickles

3 quarts sliced cucumbers

2 pounds sliced onions

1 green pepper cut in strips (I add the green pepper and pimento – Grandma did not)

1 small jar pimento or 1 red pepper cut into strips

1/2 cup salt

4 cups sugar

1 1/3 teaspoon ground turmeric (I didn’t use this)

1 1/3 teaspoon celery seed

1 1/3 teaspoon mustard seed (I didn’t use this)

4 cups white vinegar

Put vegetables into bottom of jars. Mix rest together, stir well, put on cucumbers cold, and refrigerate. I like to store them in canning jars with lids and screw rings. You can keep adding cucumbers to the dressing as you use them.

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It’s such a colorful mixture!

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The dressing is a bit cloudy until the sugar dissolves.

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So pretty!

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This was after being in the refrigerator for 2 months. They last all winter if they make it that long. Since this is my middle child’s favorite pickle, they don’t usually last all winter for us.

 

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Sweet Pickles

Today’s recipe is one of my sister’s favorites. She has a little problem with these Sweet Pickles. We would put the dish of pickles on the table for dinner and by the time we would sit down to finally eat dinner, we’d have to replenish the pickle dish.

Sweet Pickles

I have trouble making pickles from scratch so this is the perfect recipe. VERY easy and so good!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Sweet Pickles

Take 1 quart of dill pickles and pour off the juice, dry them and cut them in chunks.

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Put the chunks back in the jar.

Boil 1 cup apple cider vinegar and 2 cups sugar.

Pour the hot vinegar mixture over the chunks in the jar, put the lid back on, and put in refrigerator.

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You can re-boil the vinegar mixture the next day and pour the same liquid over the pickles again to make them more crisp. I haven’t ever done this because the pickles are crisp already and frankly, they don’t last that long! I let these pickles sit in the brine for about a week before eating.

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These are on every family holiday table!

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