Appalachian Food Preserving/Canning

Mountain Flavors Day Two – Pickles

crock full of cucumbers and water

Pickling with vinegar and fermenting are methods used to preserve the bounty of the garden.

We’re all familiar with cucumber pickles and things like green tomato pickles and pickled okra. Folks also pickle things like peaches and watermelon rinds. Pap told me his mother made a pickle out of wild grapes. He said he never did like them and was glad when things got better and he didn’t have to eat them.

The most common item to ferment is kraut or pickled beans and corn, but other things can be fermented as well. I have a wonderful old recipe that uses a combination of garden veggies to make the best tasting fermented chow chow from a long time Blind Pig reader (thank you PinnacleCreek!).

Papaw Tony came from a very large family. He said his mother would ferment things in the crock and can what she could during the summer months, then she’d leave the very last run of Summer fermenting in the crock and they’d eat that first. Papaw’s mother added cabbage cores to her kraut. He said if he got hungry when he was out playing, he’d sneak into the cellar and reach his dirty little hand down in the brine, feeling around until he found a core to eat.

I showed the students how to make a jar of kraut on Sunday night. Today we’ll make the following pickles:


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  • Reply
    July 1, 2019 at 7:19 pm

    Tipper, I have pinned all of the pickle recipes you have listed. They all look so good! I love pickled beets! Have you ever made watermelon rind pickles? My Grandma used to make them and I just loved them!

    • Reply
      July 1, 2019 at 9:07 pm

      Pamela-I’ve never even tasted watermelon rind pickles, but I’d like to 🙂

  • Reply
    June 25, 2019 at 4:00 pm

    My mom has made alot of those and i have some of them. But some of them are interesting and I hadn’t heard of some of them. Thanks Tipper

  • Reply
    June 25, 2019 at 3:42 pm

    Tipper, I’ve been clicking on the links to your recipes listed. I’m most interested in the chow-chow and squash relish. Have you ever made pear relish? I used to make it every year with my mother. Now I make it for our family. My brothers always wanted Mother to make it ‘not so sweet and with more hot peppers’. I taught my son to make it two years ago. We finally got it right – hot enough and not so sweet! It’s getting harder to find the pears where I live. I plan on giving the squash relish a try. Thanks for sharing your recipes!

    • Reply
      June 25, 2019 at 7:15 pm

      Nancy-never had pear relish but it sounds good 🙂

  • Reply
    June 25, 2019 at 3:01 pm

    I am enjoying reading this. I’m having a taste of your class at home.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    June 25, 2019 at 11:27 am

    At Pap’s Funeral Cindy was sitting with me and she showed me where Tony was sitting. I was one of the first ones there; and was met by Paul and Steve. Tipper was standing near the front, near the Casket and I made my way down, dreading to see her and Pap. I tried to tell Tipper of my Daddy and Mama passing in the 80’s, but nothing can help much at this time.

    Finally, I made my way over to meet Tony and Nana, and it was like I had know them for years. I should have known that because I think the world of Matt.

    I trust you and Carylon are having lots of fun making pickles and things. I have some of that Chow Chow you and Matt brought me awhile back. And I’ve eaten almost all of those canned Pears that you talked about one time on your blog. I do like Chitter and Chatter, just eat ’em right from the Jar. Wish I could be there! …Ken

  • Reply
    Jim K
    June 25, 2019 at 9:24 am

    Tipper, you are among the few true applichians that have carried forward the culinary knowledge of the mountains. I hope the school is videoing your sessions for future generations.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    June 25, 2019 at 9:18 am

    Well I’m not familiar with green tomato pickles. Tell me about them.

  • Reply
    June 25, 2019 at 8:44 am

    What we now know as chow chow was called mixed pickles by my mom. There is nothing better than pickled corn, especially if it’s on the cob. A lady from Coburn, VA makes a variety of pickled vegetables that she sells in grocery stores back home. I always pick up a quart of pickled corn when I’m visiting down there.

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    June 25, 2019 at 8:26 am

    Have you ever made the Old South Lime pickles? I learned how from my Mother-in-law and they are a favorite here. They take a pretty involved procedure but you can spread it over several days.

    • Reply
      June 25, 2019 at 7:16 pm

      Wanda-I’ve never made or eaten Old South Lime pickles-but I’d like to!

  • Reply
    June 25, 2019 at 8:05 am

    There is a very old recipe popular in McDowell County, WV and in Eastern Kentucky the locals call mixed pickles. It is much like the fermented chow chow. The big difference that I noticed was the mix was made in larger chunks and seemed to have more variety. I worked in that area, and asked for the recipe. I actually had it in hand at one time, but through the years lost it before I ever made a batch. I have no idea if it was fermented or made up with vinegar.
    It was common back in the day for folks to have huge gardens. There was always so many stray vegetables left to gather, but not enough to make a canning of individual vegetable I suppose through the years they had to develop recipes from what my Mother referred to as “End of garden.” The chow chow and vegetable soup were among my favorites.

    I remember the pickled corn setting in the corner of my grandmother’s kitchen. We would run in from play much like Papaw Tony and reach in for an ear. I am comforted to know that the whole process of fermentation wipes out the bad bacteria and gives the good a chance to flourish. The probiotic industry is huge, and good to know the old timers sometimes kept a crock of good food chocked full of those pricey probiotics right in their kitchen or cellar. One can find a lot of healing in all that nature provides!

  • Reply
    Mary Lou McKillip
    June 25, 2019 at 7:42 am

    Tipper I’ll share a funny story on kraut making my older sister came home for a short visit, Miss Julie was making Kraut so she was invited to help ;back then you just had a hand hand chopper. When the job was finished sister looked for her ring but couldn’t Find it. Miss Julie got a jar of kraut in the winter for dinner there was sisters ring .

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