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Emergency!! Out of Pickles!

by | Jun 30, 2014

The winter was wearing on to spring, when I had a shock. I was making a sandwich, and used up the last of the bread and butter pickles.

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It was no big deal. I could just go down into the basement and get another jar. Except that—when I went down the stairs to get one– there were no jars of pickles in the basement! I panicked. No pickles! I was quite aware that I hadn’t made any last summer. Lisa’s garden had been rich in beans, poor in cucumbers that year. And, lest you get the wrong impression, I am not really into canning much. I make jam and pickles, and occasionally put up tomatoes, if I have a lot. That is all.

But, ever since I was a child, there was ALWAYS another jar of bread-and-butter pickles in the basement. I looked among the jars of grape jam, hoping to find a stray quart of pickles that Robby’s sister Debby had made and given at Christmas along with her delicious pickled beets.

But Debby’s pickles were gone as well.

It would be a long wait and a lot of dry sandwiches till summer’s first excess of cucumbers.

I know, I know–I could have bought pickles. Yes, grocery stores sell them. I have eyed the jars suspiciously over the years. But this variety of pickles does not come from the store. It comes up from the basement. That’s all I have to say about that.

June came, and Lisa opened her garden to visitors on a beautiful cloudy Saturday. As I directed guests toward the flower beds, I could hardly contain my excitement. I had noticed several club-shaped cucumbers on vines in the kitchen garden! Everyone else wanted the skinny ones. I took these babies home and got busy.

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These pickles are easy and delicious to make. You can buy packets of mix, or you can follow the directions from the Mennonite Community Cookbook, as I did

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We are now in pickle heaven again! And, down in the dark cellar, there is a beautiful row of jars all ready for many sandwiches to come.

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Susan Yoder Ackerman is a writer and gardener in Newport News, Virginia. Both her writing and her gardening are enhanced by tending a century-old family farmhouse and eight grandchildren that come and go. You can email Susan at [email protected]