It sure is a blessing to be involved with Grow Appalachia. You get to meet so many wonderful people who are willing to share their stories with you. There is something special about people who love to garden. They are always eager to learn and share any knowledge that they have. This week I would like to introduce you to one of Scott County participants, Mrs. Rhonda Laxton. She was the home economics teacher at Oneida High School for 35 years. It was a pleasure to talk to her about her harvest. She said that she had harvested 35 pecks of cucumbers so far, and she was hoping to make 150 or more jars of pickles using her great grandmother’s recipe. She also shared some seeds/plants with family and friends, specifically with her son. His 9-yr. old and 2 ½ yr. old sons had a HUGE part in growing their vegetables. The oldest will be entering some of his crops in the Scott County Fair. “This program has been a blast for me and my grandsons.” – Rhonda Laxton
Here are some pictures of her pickle producing kitchen!
Granny King’s Fourteen-Day Sweet Pickles
Day 1: Place three gallon of cucumbers in salt water brine that is strong enough to float an egg. Cover tightly and let soak for seven days.
Day 8: Rinse pickles thoroughly in cold water. Dissolve 2 tbs. of alum in a gallon of hot water, pour over pickles. Cover tightly and let stand for 24 hours.
Day 9: Rinse pickles thoroughly in water. Pour clear hot water over pickles. Cover tightly and let stand for 24 hours.
Day 10: Make syrup of 6 cups of sugar, 5 cups apple cider vinegar, and 1-2 tbs whole pickling spices. Let syrup come to a boil and pour over pickles. Cover tightly and let stand for 24 hours.
Day 11: Drain pickles, add 1 cup of sugar, heat syrup and pour back over pickles.
Day 12: Drain pickles, reheat syrup and pour over pickles.
Day13: Drain pickles, reheat syrup and pour over pickles.
Day 14: Drain pickles, reheat syrup, add 1 cup of sugar. Remove pickling spice pouch and dispose of it. Pack pickles into hot canning jars, pour hot syrup over pickles. Wipe top rim of hot jar, ad heated canning jar flat, hand tighten with canning jar ring.
*New USDA guidelines say to hot water bath pint jars for 15 minutes.
Use only canning salt (other salts are safe, but they contain iodine and anti-caking agents that will darken the pickles and cloud the syrup).
Use a fresh egg when testing the brine solution. (Older eggs can float on their own as the air cell in the egg increases in size).
Smaller cucumbers are better that bigger cucumbers.
Cucumbers can be used whole or sliced.
Distilled white vinegar or apple cider vinegar will work equally well. I strongly prefer the extra flavor of apple cider vinegar.
In order to prevent having to “pick” the spices out of the pickles, cup a circle of nylon netting (like used for weddings), place the spices on the netting and tie with ribbon to make a spice pouch.
Recipe can easily be doubled, tripled, or whatever. Spices would not have to be increased a s much.
Sometimes it works well to place a glass (non-stoneware) plate on top of soaking pickles in order to keep them submerged.
If the top cucumbers in the “crock” are molded or soft, pick them off and continue to pickle the remaining cucumbers.
This is proudly shared by Rhonda Anderson Laxton- great granddaughter of Rosa King!