Appalachia Appalachian Food Preserving/Canning

Making Pickles

making bread and butter pickles
Pickling’s More’n Cucumbers – Murphy (Mountain Cooking by John Parris)

“To many a mountain woman who grew up at a time when the kitchen stove occupied most of her 16-hour-long day, pickling is a heap sight more than just preparing cucumbers.

“It’s most every thing,” said Mrs. Tennie Priscilla Cloer. “It’s meats and fruits and vegetables.”

“I came along at a time you had to plan ahead for the long, cold winter months when the food came mainly from the cellar,” she recalled. “You pickled and preserved all sorts of things.”

“We pickled beets and beans and corn, watermelon rind and tomatoes and kraut, cherries and apples and peaches,” she said…

“Pickling’s a lot different now from what it was back when I was coming on. Back then we didn’t have glass jars. We did our pickling in two-gallon and three-gallon stone jars and put beeswax paper over them as a cover. “I was 18 years old before I ever saw a glass jar. The first ones were half gallon jars and very thin. Later they got out a green glass jar and it was better, didn’t break so easily.”

“As a child, I remember my mother used 30-gallon cider barrels to pickle her beans and kraut and corn in. She had one barrel full of beans, one full of kraut, and one full of corn. It was enough to last the family over the winter.”


So far, I’ve only made one run of pickles this summer, but I’m hoping to make more. Here are some of my favorite pickling recipes.



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  • Reply
    July 20, 2017 at 7:41 am

    Believe it or not, my cucumbers are just beginning to grow – the plants, not the cukes! We had weeks of rain in May and June, when I’d normally be planting something every couple of days. Now I’m just hoping hard that the candy roasters and suyo cucumbers and pole beans that I planted in JULY will be able to grow and produce something before winter. This is one crazy year, weather-wise, here in MA. Last year I was eating cucumber salad pretty much every day in summer – using your recipe, Tipper, thank you! – but this year if I do get a real crop they will probably mostly have to be pickled.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    July 17, 2017 at 4:23 pm

    The Deer Hunter’s grandmother was an Ammons. We do everything at least a little bit better – usually always anyway – well, maybe sometimes .
    Them Pressley Girls are a few notches above the ordinary. That’s the Ammons in them. You can’t deny that!

  • Reply
    harry adams
    July 17, 2017 at 11:11 am

    We still make dill pickles, bread and butter, hot peppers and beets. We can tomatoes, tomato sauce,and salsa. We can beans ( green and kidney style) and have made pickled okra and pickled green beans. We have done kraut in years past but I haven’t grown enough cabbages this year.
    I have several gallons of dry canned corn for meal and hominy in the basement. I need to take a jar out and see if it worked. The jar is sealed with oxygen scavenger packets (iron powder) so that all oxygen is removed from the jar and it leaves the jar vacuum sealed.
    I have heard that the Ohio Amish are required to have a years worth of food on hand. I am sure with the potatoes stored in the cellar and all the canned goods, we could do it. We also have 3 freezers, but I don’t particularly like having to rely on the generator when the power is out. 1 freezer is half full of venison for our dog when deer season is in. The most spoiled dog in the area.
    We have a lot of friends who don’t have enough food in the house to last a week. This is not a good idea when tornadoes and snow storms can close the grocery stores.

  • Reply
    wanda Devers
    July 17, 2017 at 11:03 am

    I just remembered Mama telling us about one of her grandmothers cutting a pickled pepper at the table and the hot vinegar shooting straight into her eye!

  • Reply
    wanda Devers
    July 17, 2017 at 11:01 am

    I won’t have enough cucumbers this year to make pickles. We had trouble getting them to come up. Our favorite pickles are the old fashioned lime pickles my mother in law taught me how to make. It takes some time but they are so crispy and good. My son and I like the fermented dill pickles but they are too strong for everyone else around here.
    Mama always pickled cayenne peppers for “pepper sauce”–she used just straight vinegar. She used it on greens or cabbage and lots of other foods. Mama loved the garden and we tried to keep something growing for her as long as she was able. We took a folding chair into our garden so she could pick pepper. I had meant to let them go but she was never willing to let anything go to waste out of the garden. She’s been gone six years and I miss her so much.

  • Reply
    July 17, 2017 at 10:43 am

    I called Frontier from my home and reported my computer here at the shop last night. They ran a couple tests and decided the problem was in the line somewhere. It said “Unable to find Server.” I’m computer savoy enough but I don’t know how to fix that. This morning my computer worked. I pay a fortune to have this thing and seems my line tears up a lot. I’m about ready to change to Cable.
    When I was growing up, we canned alot too. We had a huge yellow cherry tree and In June we’d bring a couple wooden baskets to the house and Mama would can several jars for the winter. Boy, those things were so good in Cold Weather. There was 8 in our family, and mama and daddy sure knew how to provide for us boys. Lots of other things were canned too. …Ken

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    July 17, 2017 at 9:02 am

    I think there was, and is, a value in having to plan and prepare months in advance for winter. Seems to me we have just about got out of the mindset of planning and preparing months in advance, much less years in advance as was once common. I can’t pin it down and give it a name but it is real.

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    July 17, 2017 at 9:01 am

    If I had to plant, care for, harvest and prepare with the equipment and utensils available to my ancesters the family would starve.
    Makes me tired just thinking about it.
    How spoiled we are today.
    I can make applebutter inn my slo-cooker and freeze veggies I buy from a local farmer who did all the work.
    How blessed we are.

  • Reply
    July 17, 2017 at 8:57 am

    I’d give up every can of food in my pantry for a jar of Mom’s mixed pickles and one of her pickled corn on the cob. I have two churns she used to make the various pickles in. My family called them churns, but I have heard them called crocks. They were used to make homebrew when the pickled vegetables were gone. Dad never made homebrew, but other family members did and he loved to taste test it. I remember it smelling so good and yeasty while it was “working”. I never tasted it though. It didn’t smell anything like beer-the one smell that nearly makes me sick when I smell it at outdoor concerts and etc.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    July 17, 2017 at 6:39 am

    The Deer Hunter’s grandmother Lura used to make the best green Tomato Pickles. When I made them they were not as good as hers, even though I watched her make them and wrote everything down.
    Pickling was part of life for people in the age of my grand parents and their parents as well as farther back. They didn’t have freezers and canning jars. They pickled in big crocks and that’s where it stayed through the winter till it ran out.
    That was a different time, for sure! Why, they didn’t even know what a Big Mac was, LOL!

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