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Writer finds herself in a pickle due to cucumber overload

My sister often tells the story that when we were kids, she would frequently ask our grandmother if we could have cucumber rings at Thanksgiving. 

Grandma would smile and reply, “We’ll see.”

It was a confounding answer, my sister says, because invariably, there would be a jar of rings tucked somewhere on the table at Thanksgiving dinner. So why was Grandma so non-committal when clearly the answer was always yes?

And then we got the recipe, the last line of which reads, “You’d better love these because they are definitely a labor of love.”

Were they really that hard to make? On a whim one afternoon last summer, we decided to find out. 

Spoiler alert: they are. While my sister peeled and sliced and de-seeded three gallons (yes, gallons) of cucumbers, I drug a very cranky toddler all over town to find pickling lime and alum and that’s just for Day 1.

Y’all, this is a five day process. My poor husband had to deal with a giant pot of slowly pickling cucumbers and a kitchen that smelled like cinnamon and vinegar (I promise these are better than that sounds) for five days, then a countertop full of jars for another couple, and by the time we had finished, I don’t think he thought they were worth it. 

But we did. My house smelled like Thanksgiving memories for an entire week in September. 

This spring, still riding the high of our success last fall, Lydia and I were discussing how many cucumber plants to put in this year’s garden. I wanted two…she talked me into four. 

Spoiler alert number two: four cucumber pants is about two too many. 

Last Sunday, we started another batch of rings. For reference, we used about 15-16 cucumbers, give or take my second-born’s contributions to our efforts. 

Immediately following that little slicing party, I traipsed out to our little cucumber forest and picked, you guessed it, 25 more cucumbers. Two days later, we picked 18 more.

The moral of the story, folks, is that no matter how much love you have for Thanksgiving memories, don’t let my sister choose the cucumber plants. 

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