Grandma's recipe box got lost at some point- she may have thrown it away herself accidentally, and my mother and aunts have most of the recipes anyway, but no one has the pickle one. These pickles were a big production. She got a big crock from a yard sale or something like that. I don't know if she ever made them before she was retired or if it was a nostalgic food memory of her own, but I remember she had to hunt down little cucumbers at the farmers market, and I remember all the grandchildren looking at the scum-covered crock in horror. We would go down in the basement and peek at it as a dare. But most of all I remember the sharp spicy taste of those pickles. Last summer a new friend mentioned making pickles, and I asked her about them. She said that type is called "crock pickles" and she had never made them. I did some research, and the longer they ferment, the spicier they become. One of my aunts thought Grandma might have put horseradish in too. So this morning, I bought some little cucumbers from a farm market and I made a batch of crock pickles. I am using a big glass jar, and the cucumbers are bigger than the ones Grandma used, but it is an experiment. Next summer I will grow little cucumbers in my garden, and if this batch comes even close, I will also buy a big crock to ferment them in.
|My crock pickles in the basement on the first day.
It would be fun to write a cookbook that gathers these family recipes along with the stories about the relative it came from. We even have some cards still written by the original great-aunt or grandmother.