Wednesday, June 1, 2011


So, company came and company left.  And one thing they left behind was pickles.

Pickles sent along from My Husband's Mom.

They aren't just pickles. 

They are legacy . . . journal . . . memory.

90 year-old mother-in-law is not canning pickles anymore.  She stopped several years ago when she stopped planting her sprawling garden.  And with that stopped the legacy of Mom M's canned pickles.

She grew a certain kind of cucumber in her own garden.  She grew the dill in her own garden.  And she had a magic recipe that included this produce, vinegar, and water.

Oh, the water.

Husband and his siblings have memories of going down the road to pump well water to be brought back for the canning of the pickles.  Well water . . . not flavor-marred piped water.

Over time, when she lost her well-water-fetching work force, she did condescend to using piped-in water.

The source of the water was carefully noted on ripped-off pieces of masking tape, stuck to the jars. 

Which brings me to the "journal" aspect of Mom's canned pickles.  As she canned, she made note of interesting life events, quantities and experiments, and, of course, the water source and its effect on the final quality of the pickles.

These little ripped masking tape "journals" show what was on Mom's mind as she canned:

"Too much salt?"

"1 inch rain - thankful"

"Nieces at 2000 World Fair"

"Pastor thinks too much vinegar"

These old Ball jars with their rubber rings, zinc lids, tightly fitted cucumbers and clusters of dill squished in the bottom are a connection to family history.  A tongue-tingling sour memory of a Mom's gift to her family.

I now have 4 jars of these pickles on the shelf of my pantry. 

I don't want to open them.


  1. I love the idea of journaling on the jars and think I will start doing the same thing. I have
    well water and love it. My children won't drink water when we go to town as they say it tastes funny!

  2. Sweet. Just ADORE the little notes on masking tape. How special is that? This brought back so many sweet memories for me as my family of origin "put up" [the Wisconsin lingo for canning] countless jars of pickles, tomatoes, etc. each and every year. I would definitely not open those pickle jars...way too special just as they are...Xo, Sue