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Ask Jackie headline

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Jackie Clay answers questions for BHM Subscribers & Customers
on any aspect of low-tech, self-reliant living.



Jackie Clay

Q and A: Amish cole slaw, insects and weather, and pickle crisp

Sunday, September 16th, 2012

Amish cole slaw

I’d love to try your canned Amish cole slaw recipe, but have a question: Should the liquid you pour on the cabbage be heated to boiling?

Lynda King
Bolton, Massachusetts

No, it is not necessary to heat the liquid for this recipe — Jackie

Insects and weather

On the topic of animals/insects & weather, what does it mean when the ants build up their mounds? My husband says they have been doing this all summer. It is not due to impending rain as there has not been any. We might be at 2+ inches finally for the year.

Julia Crow
Gardnerville, Nevada

It can be a sign of hot weather. Ants sometimes build larger than usual mounds to insulate the ground where their network of tunnels is to keep their home cooler during a hot summer. — Jackie

Pickle crisp

I’ve never read that you recommend pickle crisp. Do you use pickle crisp (calcium chloride granules) in any or your pickle recipes to keep pickles crisp, and if not, why? I know that they used to use alum to crisp them up. I’ve tried everything (picking them early in morning, not boiling them very much, keeping them chilled) and nothing makes my pickles crisp like we like them. Processing them just makes them limp. I just sent off for some pickle crisp to use next time, after reading about it online. I believe Ball sells it. I am hoping that it does the trick. I says that it is a natural occurring substance.

Barbara Froehlich
Bakersfield, California

No. I don’t use pickle crisp. I always use minutes-old cucumbers, always cut off the blossom end, never boil them if I can help, and I, personally, don’t process my pickles any more in a boiling water bath canner. I, too, got sick of limp pickles! Grandmothers didn’t water bath their pickles and I did it because experts now recommend it. I’m sure some expert out there will hang me, but I went back to Grandma’s pickles and mine are now crisp. Of course I can’t recommend this method, but it’s what I do. — Jackie

One Response to “Q and A: Amish cole slaw, insects and weather, and pickle crisp”

  1. Nana from Texas Says:

    I used the Ball calcium cholride, their Pickle Crisp for Bread and Butter pickles I made this year. I used Jackie’s recipe and put them on ice and then the only thing I did differently from her receipe was to add the Ball Pickle Crisp. My Dad said the pickles were too crisp. He wanted them softer (no teeth! First time I had complaints about pickles being too crisp. It really does work. It’s kinda pricey, but hey, give it a try. It’s certainly better than spending all that time and money on spices, etc for a finished product that is wimpy and not crisp.

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