How to Make Nana’s Sweet Pickles

cukes-lime

Soaking in Lime

Chopping cucumbers to make sweet pickles, I realized “when I am gone no one in the family will continue this tradition.” My husband’s mom canned her nine day sweet pickles and my husband and our sons could finish off a pint at a meal.

A lady in my husband’s first church made the best sweet pickles and gave me her recipe. When my mother-in-law came to visit I was anxious for her to try my pickles. She bite into a pickle and shrieked while squinting, “Whooooo, they are good.” Maybe a little too much spices or vinegar???

Over the years I fine-tuned the recipe and now each summer I make Mrs. Wages Lime Pickles to the delight of husband, sons and now grandson.

The next Sunday at lunch with my son and his family, I related my sentimental feeling about no one carrying on the tradition of making pickles.

My grandson  Cameron replied with no thought to missing me, “Nana, that is no problem. We can just look up the recipe on the internet!”

So, this prompted me to help my grandson find my recipes “on the internet.”

Mrs. Wages Lime Pickles

  • 7 lbs medium-size pickling cucumbers
  • 1 cup Mrs. Wages® Pickling Lime
  • 2 gal water
  • 2 qt Mrs. Wages® Pickling & Canning Vinegar or other commercial white vinegar (5% acidity)
  • 8 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Mrs. Wages® Pickling & Canning Salt
  • 1 Tbsp Mrs. Wages® Mixed Pickling Spice

Wash cucumbers. Remove 1/16 -inch from blossom end and slice crosswise. Mix pickling lime in water. Aluminum containers should not be used for the lime solution. Soak cucumbers for 12 hours or overnight in the lime water, stirring occasionally. Rinse 3 times in cool water and soak 3 more hours in ice water.

In a bowl, mix together vinegar, sugar, and salt until dissolved. Remove cucumbers from final ice water soak. Drain slices. Pour syrup over top. Let stand for 5 to 6 hours or overnight. Add pickling spice to taste.

Drain syrup off cucumber slices into a saucepan. Simmer for 35 minutes. Pack cucumber slices into hot quart jars. Pour boiling syrup over slices to cover and leaving 1/2 -inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Adjust lids and process pints for 10 minutes and quarts for 15 minutes, using boiling water bath method. (I don’t process my jars – they seal fine if packed in hot sterilized jars and last for years.)

Finished product

Finished product

cam-banaimg_9541

 

So here you go Cameron, it’s on the internet.  I hope you find a wife one day who will make you some of Nana’s sweet pickles. It is truly a labor of love!

Why did I agree to make a dessert?

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Culinary masterpieces flashed on the TV screen in the foyer of the church of cakes from last year’s dessert auction to benefit our church camp for children, Canal Lake Bible Camp.  Just before Sunday School, our resident baker, Rodney, showed me a picture on his phone of his wife’s lemon cake made for the auction for this year.  It was drop dead gorgeous. 20160214_170545

 

He described the icing and the filling between each layer.

He also proclaimed there was already a bid of $250 for Glenda’s cake.

Rodney also shared a picture of his cake made for the event which was equally stunning.

Rodney's cake

Rodney’s cake

Why did I agree to make a dessert?  I don’t bake beautiful cakes.  Sure they taste good and my family thinks I make the best carrot cake ever but they did not need another carrot cake for the auction so I agreed to make a cheese cake.

Returning home after church, I opened the frig to check on my blueberry topping for the cheesecake I prepared for the auction.  Cooked the night before, it was not very firm but tasted so good and would surely get thicker when cooled and would hopefully make my cheesecake at least look edible.

The blueberry topping had not thickened.

After lunch, my husband noticed that I seemed a little down.  I told him, “I just don’t feel good enough. I missed a few words in choir today, I’m overweight and what did they talk about in Sunday School but fasting!”

He just sat there and did not say a word.

“Well, tell me what to do.  Why do I feel so insecure and inadequate?  And, oh yeah my blueberry topping is not thick.  What will I do?  There is only a little time before the auction tonight.  Oh, well my lasagna will be good for the potluck.”

You know the feeling or the disease we women have– the compare and compete syndrome.  We just don’t every seem to measure up to her or in this matter him………………..whatever!

Thankfully there were more blueberries in the freezer to repair my syrup.  Nicely thickened the blueberry topping was placed on my cheesecake and we headed out for the potluck dinner at church with dessert auction to follow.

Our learner’s permit grandson, Cameron, drove to church with his Papaw John sitting beside him.  I sat in the back holding my dessert hoping it would make the trip.  Cameron’s friend Bryan helped me when we went around some curves and I had to balance the plate.

When we arrived John and Cameron took the lasagna dish to the pot luck table.  Bryan went with me to the church kitchen to help me remove the spring form ring from the pan.

The glass serving dish was prepared with white valentine shaped hearts and I proceeded to transfer the cheese cake.

“Oh, no, how do I remove the parchment paper from the bottom of the cake?” I asked as Bryan looked puzzled.

It had to be done, I lifted the cheesecake and Bryan pulled the parchment paper out and just as the transfer was almost complete the cake split in half in my hands.  I pushed it onto the plate and pressed it together.  “Oh well, it will taste good even if it doesn’t look that great.”

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The split blueberry cheesecake

Walking into the gathering with the good side of the cheesecake showing, I placed it on the nearest table among the works of art wishing no one would know it was mine.  Then don’t you know someone placed a little card on it with my name!

The pot luck was delicious as usual.  Pastor Jeff and his wife Sarah shared some highlights of camp last year and how many children were impacted with the Gospel.

Our congregation enjoys participating in the auction.  Several people pool their funds and bid on their favorite dessert.  The first few bids were for “pick your own cake.”  The bids soared to $850.

Our table chose the next “pick your own cake” and won the bid.  We selected the delectable lemon cake made by Rodney’s wife.  It tasted as good as it looked.

 

Glenda's Cake

Glenda’s Cake

Then the moment of truth – as I sliced the lemon cake our table purchased for $500 –  I heard, “This classic cheesecake made by Pat Strickland – who will give $50?”

My husband looked at me and saw my desperation, “please bid on my cheesecake.”

He bid $50 and amazingly the bids proceeded and it was sold for $250.  Yes, I was not a complete failure.

And don’t you know my thought was, “Someone heard me complaining that my cheesecake split in half when I placed it on the serving plate.  They felt sorry for me and purchased it.”

We just can’t quit can we!  Praise the Lord my feeble efforts to prepare a dessert presentable enough to earn money for the camp succeeded in raising a good donation.

The total raised that night was over $12,000.  Thanks to the generosity of our congregation and the fundraising of youth our church camp is offered to children free of charge.

Lord, please help me to be thankful for the success of the event and not compare my efforts to that of others.

 

2 Corinthians 8:12New International Version (NIV)

12 For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have.

 2 Corinthians 10:12New International Version (NIV)

12 We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.

New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.®Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.