DEAR SUN SPOTS: In response to No Name in Lewiston who was looking for a mustard pickle recipe, I have one!

Senf gurken: 3 large “yellow” cucumbers, 2 bay leaves, 1 tablespoon salt, 1 small hot red pepper, 1 2/3 cups vinegar, 1 piece horseradish root, 1/3 cup water, 1/2 cup sugar, sprig of dill, 1 tablespoon white mustard seed.

Method: Peel cucumbers, cut them in half, lengthwise and remove seeds. Cut these halves into three or four lengthwise strips, then into three-inch lengths. Sprinkle salt over cucumbers. Let stand covered for 12 hours, then drain and wipe pieces dry with a clean towel. Boil vinegar, water and sugar; allow to cool.

Pack cucumbers in clean sterilized glass jars in alternate layers with the spices. Pour cooled vinegar mixture over pickles. Seal jars, store in a cool place. Makes 1 quart. Note: A piece of alum, half the size of a pea, may be placed on top of the pickles, when jars are filled, to increase their crispness.

My best wishes to you and kudos for a great column! — Carol Bradford via e-mail

DEAR SUN SPOTS: This is for the person who was inquiring about mustard pickles. This recipe has been in my family for many years: l cup of sugar, l cup of canning salt, l cup dry mustard, l gallon vinegar, l teaspoon alum. Place cukes in jars and add the above. I am looking for a recipe for salsa using hot peppers. — No Name via e-mail

DEAR SUN SPOTS: I have been eating these mustard pickles since I was a toddler and making them since I was a kid back in the 1960s. These go back many generations in the Walton family but aren’t a secret.

I do not preserve them. They have a shelf life of approximately four weeks, but they don’t usually sit around that long! I make them all year-round. I can only guess at the amounts because I make them according to the size of jar. Plastic mayonnaise jars work well.

Scrub the cukes. Leave very small ones whole and slice others lengthwise. Pack into the empty jar and fill with water to the brim. Pour the water into a four-cup or larger measuring cup. Notice how much it holds and discard the water. Add to the empty measuring cup, 15 packets of Splenda (or sweetener of your choice). Add 1 tablespoon of dry mustard, 1 teaspoon of salt (I use kosher) and add 3/4 cup vinegar and 1/4 cup water to this and mix well. Pour over the packed cukes. If it doesn’t cover them totally, add water to do so and screw cover on tight and shake well.

They will be ready to eat or close to it within 12 hours, the smaller jars sooner. I shake mine a few times within that time just to keep it mixed, although it may not really matter. You need to keep experimenting with it to get it where you want it to suit your taste, perhaps sweeter, less vinegar, less salt, etc., but use this type of measuring system. — No Name, Poland

DEAR SUN SPOTS: Regarding the letter asking for a mustard pickle recipe, I am sending the following recipe that our family has enjoyed for a century.

Ingredients: Eight to 10 large cucumbers, sliced lengthwise (4-6 slices per cuke), 2 tablespoons pickling salt, 1 1/2 to 2 cups white sugar, 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, 2 cups white vinegar, 1 tablespoon ground dried turmeric, 1 tablespoon dry mustard powder, 1/2 teaspoon celery seed and 2 quarts cold water.

Directions: Place sliced cukes into sterilized jars (4 to 5 quart size). In a large pot, stir together the sugar and flour. Whisk in the vinegar, tumeric, mustard and celery seed and add water. Bring to a boil. Brine will be slightly thickened. Cool brine thoroughly. Pour brine over cukes in each jar to ¼ inch from top. Seal with sterilized jar lids. Process in simmering water bath for 5 minutes.

Hint: Turn jars upside down on a dish towel or several layers of paper towel for 20 to 30 minutes. I think this helps seal them. Refrigerate any jars that fail to seal properly. Enjoy! — Beverly Harvie, Sabattus, [email protected]

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