News

Making pickles an old-fashioned way

By Michael-Allan Marion, Brantford Expositor

Musuem intern Emily Benedict (left) and Sandra Gunn of Waterford watch as Cheryl Boomer of Teeterville adds cucumbers during a crock pickle-making demonstration on Saturday at the Teeterville Pioneer Museum in Teeterville. (Brian Thompson/Postmedia Network)

Musuem intern Emily Benedict (left) and Sandra Gunn of Waterford watch as Cheryl Boomer of Teeterville adds cucumbers during a crock pickle-making demonstration on Saturday at the Teeterville Pioneer Museum in Teeterville. (Brian Thompson/Postmedia Network)

Visitors to the Teeterville Pioneer Museum found themselves in quite a pickle.

The Norfolk County museum on the weekend offered a short course on how dill pickles were made more than a century ago.

Emily Benedict, a summer intern, was standing at a table just outside the museum's Mason House on Saturday afternoon, with a crock, fresh cucumbers and an assortment of spices at the ready. She pressed into service two visitors who wanted to learn the mysteries of pickle making.

"I've never done this before," Sandra Gunn of Waterford said as she followed instructions to cut cucumbers and measure and pour ingredients into the crock.

Benedict also got help from Cheryl Boomer of Teeterville, who, like Gunn, had never made dill pickles.

The women learned they had to leave the mix to sit for seven days in the crock until the cucumbers turned into pickles.

What did they think of their efforts? Gunn declared she would try on her own to replicate the recipe.

Boomer had a different idea. "It might be easier just to buy a jar," she said. "But I liked watching this batch being done."

Here's the recipe: Combine in the crock, eight cups of water, a half-cup of pickling salt (it has no iodine) and one cup of vinegar.

Add three kilograms of fresh locally grown cucumbers as uniform as possible, six cloves of garlic, six dill sprigs and two tablespoons of pickling spice.

Stir the mixture and cover with a plate to weigh it down. Then let it stand in a cool dark place for seven days.

The pickle-making demonstration was the latest in a summerlong series called Pioneer Projects, which runs every Saturday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. The sessions are meant to demonstrate skills that the area's pioneers would have used, said Benedict.

Previous sessions covered quilting, making butter and making a tin lantern.

The next sessions include: soap making on Aug. 12; spinning wool on Aug. 19; corn husk dolls on Aug. 26, and cross-stitch sampler on Sept. 2.

The Teeterville Pioneer Museum at 194 Teeter St. was established in 1967 as a Centennial project of the Teeterville Women's Institute and the Township of Windham. The site features four original historic buildings - a log smoke house and a log house, a wayside church and a drive barn. All the buildings have changing and permanent heritage exhibitions that feature collections of early Windham and area artifacts.

The museum is open 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. More information on programs and displays is available by calling 519-443-4400 or visit its website at www.teetervillemuseum.ca.

MMarion@postmedia.com

@expMarion