When I was young my mother canned a lot of food. She had a garden and preserved as much as she could. Her freezer was in the refrigerator and measured a foot square so freezing wasn’t an option. We had to save that for important things like ice cream.
As I got older, she did less canning. One year I bought her a small freezer and she froze more but she always canned pickles. You really can’t freeze pickles.
Pickle canning happens in August when the bulk of the pickling cucumbers are ripe. Think of an old house with no air conditioning during August. Temperatures bounced around 90 degrees with the humidity bouncing there too.
It was hot, hot, hot.
I helped with this. She did a boiling water bath with pint and quart jars. There was a hot brine bubbling too. We were lifting and slicing and mixing.
My mother made beer pickles. That’s what she called them. They tasted a lot like bread and butter pickles and maybe a few jars of dill pickles or sweet gherkins. But they were all beer pickles.
We would start early on a Saturday. As the day went on it got hotter and hotter and the sweat would start to roll. (No! Not into the pickles, just soaking our clothes!)
That’s when the beer came out. She didn’t put the beer in the pickles; she put it in the pickle makers. That would be the two of us. After a while, we were all giggly and laughing.
She always had a ham and cheese sandwich for us. Yes, of course, with spicy mustard, horseradish, a pickle and a glass of cold beer.
Yum! Great pickles! My Mom sure knew how to make great pickles and make it fun too!