***Originally written in April***
Here in West Central Florida, Spring has sprung. Actually, it seems we’re headed right into Summer without even having a Spring to speak of. It’s been in the 80s since the first of March with no signs of getting cooler again until October. Such is life in the tropics.
The coming of warmer months brings more and more outdoor activities throughout the country. Picnics and barbecues, trips to beaches and lakes, parties and fireworks. All of the above mentioned festivities are usually centered around food and drink, which brings me to today’s recipe.
When I was younger and still lived in Connecticut my family was very active in our church. It was during the Springtime that even the church would participate in the traditional “Spring cleaning” and clear the basement of donated furniture and larger items that would not fit inside the thrift store as they held the annual Spring sale. There were lots of volunteers selling items at tables all over the church grounds. My family was in charge of cooking hot dogs and hamburgers at the food booth. My dad would complain about doing the job every year but secretly I know he loved it. He loaded up our huge charcoal grill into the car, with 10 pound boxes of Hummel’s hot dogs and stacks of hamburgers, giant steel tubs filled with ice that Mom spent months making in our spare freezer for the bottles and cans of soda pop we would sell, and we would make the trek to church. The annual event was and will always be one of my favorite memories.
Parishioners would make and donate items for the bakery sale, or homemade jams, jellies and pickles with produce grown locally, very often in backyard gardens. The couple that ran the thrift store, the Stockers, usually made pickles to serve at the cooked food table. They were freshly made, crispy and sweet, the perfect accompaniment for a cooked-to-order hamburger and ice cold cola. The pickles are simple, have just a few ingredients and are so good you’d think they should be illegal.
Just a few weeks ago, my mom and I were reminiscing about all the fun we used to have doing those fairs and I asked her if she still had the pickle recipe. She told me she doubted she still had it any more, but she would keep an eye out for it. Well, just yesterday we were looking through a bag of recipes that she had found in a corner of the counter somewhere behind the knife block and I found my recipe! You can bet I will be making these mouth-watering sweeties just as soon as I can!
Sweet Refrigerator Pickles
- 7 cups Thinly Sliced Cucumbers, unpeeled. Though any cucumber will work, I prefer to use the smaller, pickling cucumbers
- 1 cup Thinly Sliced Sweet Onion. I usually slice them into rings for this recipe.
- 2 cups White Sugar
- 1 cup White Vinegar
- 2 tbsp Salt
- 1 tbsp Celery Seed
Place the sliced cucumbers and onions together in a large, non-metallic bowl or jar. Mix the sugar, vinegar, salt and celery seed together in a separate bowl. Stir together until “juicy”; pour over cucumbers and onions. Cover and store in the refrigerator. These are ready to eat in three hours. Keeps well for up to six weeks.
If I never said so, Sylvia, thank you for the pickle recipe, and all the warm, wonderful memories that go with them.