Article: Lucile's German Chunk Sweet Pickles: Brining pickles

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Image Lucile's German Chunk Sweet Pickles
By Patricia Roberson on July 25, 2010

In the late 1930's, my mother-in-law, Lucile Roberson, scribbled her recipe for German Chunk Sweet Pickles in the back of her Watkins cookbook. She was nearly eighty when Robert and I married. When we decided to plant a vegetable garden, she passed the well worn cookbook and the traditional pickle making to us. These pickles really are quick and easy to make, even though the process is spread over twelve days from start to finish. ----- Wait a minute! Come back! Please! You don't actually work on them every day! ---- When I was young, I thought twelve days was a ridiculous amount of time to wait for pickles, but I soon realized that my husband's pickles, made from his mother's recipe, always disappeared from the relish tray and my extra quick sweet pickles, made using pickling lime and green food coloring, were ignored by guests. Lucile's pickles are now the only sweet pickles we ever make.

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Jul 25, 2010 5:05 PM CST
Name: Crista Abel
Gilbert, Arizona
The recipe for Lucile's pickles reminds me of a question I've had. The recipe says to brine them in a comfortably cool room. In Arizona in the summer we keep our thermostat at 80 and it feels nice and cool to us (although sometimes we cheat and push it down to 78 when it gets too humid). From visiting my husband's parents in Nebraska, I know that 78 - 80 is comfortably cool for everyone. So, is 80 cool enough to brine pickles? This recipe looks delicious, but I don't want for them to ruin because of the heat.
Jul 25, 2010 5:19 PM CST
Name: Patricia
Central TX 7b/8a
I believe 80 degrees would be fine. The batch my husband just made were kept at 76 degrees. The ones we ruined years ago were exposed to temps around 100 degrees during the day in a laundry room off a west-facing porch. It could have been more than 100 in that room at times.
Jul 25, 2010 5:52 PM CST
Name: Dea O'Hopp
Frederick, MD
PVC Pipe is a Cook's friend
Loved this article - thanks very much~
Jul 25, 2010 5:56 PM CST
Name: Patricia
Central TX 7b/8a
Thanks, Dea. I'm looking forward to more of your articles on Yum!
Jul 25, 2010 6:43 PM CST
Wow, great article and instructions!
I think I will just visit you and try them out.
Do you make these every year?
Jul 25, 2010 6:54 PM CST
Name: Patricia
Central TX 7b/8a
Robert made a batch just two weeks ago for the first time in a couple of years. We usually have a full shelf of these pickles in the pantry, but the supply had finally run out. We grew no cucumbers this year, and it was a real challenge to find any good fresh ones for sale.
Jul 25, 2010 7:20 PM CST
Name: Nancy
Buffalo NY
I'm drooling! They look so good!

During my growing up years, I had an aunt and uncle who owned a tavern. They lived about an hours drive away. Whenever we visited them, they always packed me a package of pickles for the ride home. Those were the best pickles EVER!

I've always loved pickles. Even just the sound of the word is fun. Pickle! This article of yours was mouth-watering!

(Nice layout too~)
Jul 25, 2010 7:24 PM CST
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR zone 8
Great article, and for sure made my mouth water. Loved the photos also. Funny thing is, I was so into reading the directions I had to go back to look at the photos.
Jul 25, 2010 7:30 PM CST
Name: Patricia
Central TX 7b/8a
Thanks, everyone! These really are good pickles, and I hope a lot of you try them. Nannie (Lucile) would be proud that her recipe is being shared.
Jul 25, 2010 8:40 PM CST
Name: Sharon
Great article, Pat. The recipe is very much like the one handed down from my family. Thank you!
Jul 25, 2010 9:54 PM CST
Name: Crista Abel
Gilbert, Arizona
Thanks for letting me know about the temperature! Now I'm on the hunt for some good looking cukes and I'll use your recipe! Yum!
Jul 26, 2010 2:49 PM CST
Name: Debbie
Denham Springs, La zone 8b
Great article Pat. Thank you so much for the great instructions and photos. My mother would be so proud of me.... First gardening and now pickling. Who knew I would turn into my mother. LOL
Jul 27, 2010 9:06 AM CST
Name: Kathy Guagliano
Port Charlotte Florida
This looks fantastic Pat! Great article too! Thank you so much!
Jul 27, 2010 3:45 PM CST
I've tried a couple of different pickle recipes. Now I've just got to try this one. I love getting my hands on a much loved family recipe. Thanks for sharing! It looks wonderful!
Lovey dubby
Jul 27, 2010 10:34 PM CST
Name: Janet Colvin
Z8~Beaumont~Southeast Texas
Proud member of
My Granddaddy used to make pickles and we all loved them. I'd love to try your recipe to see if I can get them to taste like Gran Pickles. Sadly, no one got his recipe. But My Mom watched, so I'm sending her your article and maybe this will pick her brains for anything that might be missing to duplicate Gran's Pickles.

Loved how you wrote the article and the photos were great too! Thanks so much for sharing Lucille's recipe and tradition.

Jul 27, 2010 11:45 PM CST
Name: Stormy
Valley Forge Pa
I Love MAM ~ So Happy Together
Great article Patricia. You very clearly explained this mystifying process. Thank you Smiling
Jul 29, 2010 9:20 AM CST
Name: Sandy B.
Michigan UP (Zone 4b or 5a)
Perfect timing -- my cukes are just starting to produce and I was thinking of making some sweet pickles! Can't wait to try this out -- and how great that Dave added a "print this article" feature for us. Thumbs up
"I am still learning"~~ Michelangelo
National Gardening Association
Jun 24, 2011 3:54 PM CST
Name: Diann
What do you use for pickling spices? :) This sounds interesting. :)
Jun 24, 2011 4:21 PM CST
Name: Patricia
Central TX 7b/8a
Diann, I use McCormick s Mixed Pickling Spice, which I find in the grocery with the other spices and seasonings on the baking aisle. It's more convenient for me than mixing my own. It contains cinnamon, allspice, mustard seed, coriander, bay leaves, ginger, chilies, cloves, black pepper, mace, and cardamom.

Thumb of 2011-06-24/patrob/3e97f6
Jun 27, 2011 10:17 AM CST
Name: Diann
Thanks Pat! :)

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