Granny Meals’ Sweet Pickles

My great-grandmother Meals made sweet pickles for generations.  My mom grew up eating these yummy pickles and begs for them every summer from her older relatives in Huntsville (aka: Uncle Harold!).  So when we went to our family reunion this week, we asked if he could please bring us the sweet pickle recipe.  Since we have so many cucumbers, even after giving away so many already, I decided I needed to start pickling these babies!

The whole process actually takes about 2 weeks.  So last night I got stage 1 going.  First you take a heap of cucumbers and cut them up into slices, and keep on cutting until you have a gallon of cucumbers.  Here’s my pile of cucumbers, and I ended up using all of them (except 1 of those big guys) to fill my gallon jar.

Can you believe all these slices came from that 1 cucumber on the far right of the above pic???

Once I got the jar filled with cucumber slices, you just fill the jar with water to cover all the cucumbers and pour in 1 cup of pickling salt.  Pickling salt is different from regular table salt in that it does not have iodine or anti-caking agents in it.  But you can get it at any grocery store on the spices aisle.

 So for 2 days the jar is in the fridge soaking in salty water.  I took it out this morning just to swirl the jar a bit to keep all the salt from settling to the bottom.  Then in 2 days, it’ll be time for step 2!

Meals family reunion

Today we headed up to Huntsville, AL for a long overdue Meals family reunion.  This family reunion branches off several generations between my all my nana’s siblings.  My nana, Marie Meals Wills, was 1 of 5 children.  She and the baby of the 5, Gerald have passed away now, but my great aunt Margaret and great uncles Harold and Marshall are still living.  For many many years (since I was a little kid) we have been doing family reunions from that side of the family.  Most all of them live in the Huntsville and Athens, AL areas.  My nana and granddaddy lived in Birmingham, along with the rest of my direct family from my mom’s side.

So, off to Huntsville we went and it was good seeing all of my relatives again.  It’s probably been close to 10 years since we’ve done a family reunion.  I vaguely remember going to the last one, and I’m pretty sure I hadn’t gotten to high school yet.  So most all the “kids” at that time included myself, Katie, Emily and our 2nd cousins.  Well now, the “kids” are all my 2nd cousins’ kids.  It’s funny, out of my mom’s group of cousins, my mom is the only left who’s not a grandmother yet 😉  But we’re ok with that for now.

Here’s Marshall, Margaret, and Harold (3 of the 5 Meals siblings).  My nana was the 4th, then Gerald was the baby.  Gerald just recently passed away this spring.

And here is our branch of the family tree…Marie’s descendants 🙂  My mom and aunt Denise are in the middle, and myself, Emily and Aaron are the grandkids (along with our spouses, and Aaron’s kids).  Katie and Chuck and my other cousin Wesley couldn’t make it to the reunion today.

 The weather was hot as usual these days. Another whopping 100+ degrees outside. But thankfully we were all able to spend most the time inside.  One of my mom’s cousins, Amanda and her husband, hosted us all to her house for the event.  And speaking of cousins….here they all are (children of the 5 Meals siblings).

They wanted to recreate this picture of them all from the early 1960s 😉  The 3rd girl from the left sitting on the couch is my mom!  And for anyone who knew me as a child, you’ll see that I’m a spitting image of my mom.  All day various relatives kept calling me “little Elaine.”

 This picture cracks me up.  I’m surprised we didn’t try to get one big picture of everyone together.  But this is just Aunt Margaret’s crew, and as you can see, one of the main sources of great-grandchildren!  How do you get a group like this to organize for a family picture???  Just say cheese!

Me and Emily with our dear Uncle Harold.  He gave me his sweet pickles recipe today.  My mom has grown up LOVING eating his sweet pickles.  And since we have cucumbers growing out our ears, she asked him to bring his recipe for me to try!  I’ll definitely give that a shot in the near future.

All in all, it was a great day.  Maybe at the next family reunion we (as in Katie and me) will have some babies to add to the great-grandchild pot 😉  I know all these great-grandchildren had fun!  Amanda set up a slip-and-slide for them to enjoy for the afternoon.  Oh, and I had my own little fun scoping out her garden out back.  It has quite the variety of veggies!  I was in awe.