Aunt Betty’s Pickles

Recipe by Rachel Romesburg Rice, Weavers Way and Henry Got Crops CSA Member


  • 4 quarts of cucumbers, sliced
  • 8 large onions, sliced
  • ½ cup canning salt (Not iodine salt — very important, according to Aunt Betty)
  • 5 cups sugar
  • 5 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1-½ tsp. turmeric
  • 1 tsp. celery seed
  • 2 tbsp. mustard powder

This is an easy recipe, but please note the special instructions; I think the trick is to watch for the cucumbers to change color, and then to turn off the fire immediately. Also, it’s best to keep the liquid from boiling.

  1. Place cucumbers and onions in aluminum or other large pans. Sprinkle with ½ cup of canning salt. Completely cover with ice, then cover with plates, pressing down into the cukes. Let sit for three hours, then drain off all water and ice. Rinse and drain again.
  2. In a large pot, combine sugar, vinegar, and spices. Heat the liquid, bringing it almost to a boil (but don’t let it boil.) Dump in pickles and onions, stir occasionally (gently, don’t mush), and don’t let it boil. (Note: At this point, I was convinced there was not enough liquid in the pot, but there was.) The cukes will change color from white to light brown.
  3. Turn off the heat. Do not overcook, or they will get soggy. Pack in jars and seal. Aunt Betty turns them upside down and lets them sit for a few hours or overnight.