Nine Day Old Pickles

A sweet and sour version.

Here’s a version (along with some pickling tips) from the August 18, 1934 edition of The Sheboygan Press:

9-Day Sweet Sour Pickles

Select cucumbers not longer than 2 inches. Soak in salt brine (1 cup salt to 1 gallon water) for 8 days. Take out of brine and freshen them in clear water for 2 hours. To 1 gallon of water use 1 tablespoon of alum, put in your pickles and gradually heat them. When the begin to simmer, let them boil for 6 minutes. Cool under running water. When cold put them in a crock, cover with cold vinegar and let them stand for 9 days. Now put them in your jars and make your pickling vinegar, using the same vinegar they were soaked in. To 1 cup of vinegar add 1 cup sugar, boil and cool. Add 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon oil, 1/2 teaspoon clove oil to each gallon of syrup, mix and pour over cold. These are green and crisp.

More satisfactory results can be obtained if the housewife understands what causes some of the troubles sometimes encountered in pickling.

  1. Tough, shriveled pickles are the result of too much salt or vinegar which is too strong, or too much sugar.
  2. Soft pickles are the result of too strong a vinegar or being put in too weak a brine.
  3. Hollow pickles are due to imperfect cucumbers or else too great a lapse of time between pickling and picking.
  4. Slippery pickles are the result of letting the cucumbers stand above the brine. This will cause them to be soft.
  5. Off color is the result of using the wrong kind of vinegar or cooking in a copper kettle.
  6. Vinegar — use high grade cider or pure grain vinegar.
  7. Avoid water having an excess of minerals.

Of course, if you have to soak them for eight days before the nine days, aren’t they really 16-day pickles?

From a notebook originally from somewhere in the general area of Sterling, Colorado from the 1930s.

This recipe is from the 13th page of the notebook; here’s the page in full (click to enlarge).

Click to expand a longer explanation...
In the words of the seller:
I acquired this book from the great granddaughter of the woman who wrote this book back in a small Nebraska town in the 30’s. She belonged to that generation of rural housewives who worked tirelessly to make ends meet and “keep body and soul together” for their families working the farms.

Later addendum:

[A]fter a conversation I had with a friend’s sister who used to live in North Eastern Colorado, given the type of recipes listed we decided it might be from a small town there, i.e., Sterling or Fort Morgan. Also North Platte or Scottsbluff, Nebraska. Even Cheyenne, Wyoming. If you Google a map of Sterling, Colorado and pull back, you will see all these little towns in that tri-state area.

Nine Day Old Pickles


Day 1:
7 lbs. cucumbers
1 pt. salt
1 gal. water

Day 7:
(to cook)
2 c. vinegar
water to cover

3 pts. vinegar
3 lbs. sugar
1 oz. allspice]

7 lbs. cucumbers–small

Place in crock; cover with brine of 1 pint salt, 1 gallon water; let stand four days, then pour off brine, cover with fresh water, and let stand three days.

Wash and split each pickle. Put in kettle with 2 c. vinegar and enough water to cover. Let simmer two hours. Pour off liquid and pack in jar.

Heat 3 pints vinegar, 3 pounds sugar, 1 ounce allspice and pour over pickles. Let stand overnight.

Next morning pour off liquid and bring to boil and again pour over pickles.

Next morning again reheat the liquid and pour over pickles and seal.

Mrs. [Can’t make out the name–can you?]

Yesterdish reminder: Either use a modern canning recipe or store these in the fridge for maximum safety.

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