Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Aristocratic Pickles

Having decided to turn NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) into CkBkWriMo (Cookbook Writing Month), I am madly writing about various food experiences and typing up family recipes.  I had to get to the third recipe before I got more than one line of directions, and it's a doozy.  Enjoy.

Aristocratic Pickles (based on the handwriting, from the kitchen of Helen Hoffman Babione)

One gallon medium size pickles sliced thin, put in brine to float an egg for six days.  Stir once a day.  Then drain. Boil in water to cover pickles with alum (?) size of an egg for ten minutes.  Then drain.  And cover pickles with 2 tbsp (word I can't read) of ginger for 10 min.  Then drain and boil in the following until transparent

1 quart vinegar and 1 pint water
3 pounds granulated sugar and 1 tbsp celery seed
1 tbsp whole cloves
1 tbsp allspice
1 stick cinnamon

Put spices in bag except celery seed

Add slightly more vinegar and water syrup is very close

(I think that this might be my favorite use of eggs ever -- as brine density barometer and unit of measure.)


  1. You are amazing. I never have seen a recipe like this, using the egg. I also never thought of it as a barometer. But then I never took a course in chemistry. I am so glad you shared a grandparent recipe.

  2. I have come across at least one more reference to egg floating brine, again in pickle recipes. Martha Stewart likes to brine things. I wonder if she has ever used the floating egg method.

    I have typed up several more recipes, and alum is indeed a pickle ingredient. The bag for spices is likely a cheese cloth bag. I'm learning as I go.

    It's interesting that cooking is such an industry these days, as if it is something special to do, when twenty or thirty or fifty years ago, it was done out of necessity. The only other option was to eat out. Otherwise you had to actually learn/know how to cook. And the only way to enjoy tomatoes or vegetables out of season was to open up a can of preserves made during the summer.