Sweet Pickles from the Standard Figuring Book No. 1602

Grandma kept her oldest recipes in a ledger marked Standard Figuring Book No. 1602.  Model No. 1602 (and many others) were made in the U.S.A. by “Standard B&P Blank Books and Loose Leaf Devices”. In 1920, the No. 1602 model was marketed as a basic office supply item and sold for $1.00. In 2015, a nearly identical book is still being manufactured by B&P and is available for purchase, but for just slightly more than the 1920 price.

On the inside leaf of her No. 1602 book, Grandma has written “Mrs. Falba L. Jensen  Preston, Idaho”. The book has several full pages of recipes that appear to have been copied all at once, making it a sort of ‘everything a young housewife will need to know how to cook’ collection. The recipes in this book have come from her family, her mother, her grandmother and so on.

Now, about the pickles. Grandma did a lot of canning. I’m sure she learned canning as a matter of necessity to keep the family fed through the winter months. Later, I believe she canned because we all loved the things she made so much. I’m not how many varieties of Grandma’s pickles I had growing up, but I know that she herself loved sweet pickles, so the first recipe shared here from the Standard Figuring Book No. 1602 is for her sweet pickles.

Sweet Pickles

Use dill size pickles (25) and soak for 2 weeks in a brine that will hold up an egg. Take out and wash and soak overnite in clear water with alum the size of a walnut.

Make syrup of:
1 qt. vinegar
2 qts. sugar
1 T whole cloves
1 T mace
2 sticks of cinnamon

Put this in a sack & boil with syrup. Bring to a boil & pour over pickles that have been cut in 1 in. pieces & packed in bottles. Pour off syrup & heat four consecutive mornings & seal up tight the fourth time.

This is clearly one of those recipes where at least part of the instruction is from family know-how and/or tribal knowledge.  The brine that the cucumbers are soaked in has to allow an egg to float (‘hold up’ an egg). What a ‘dill size’ pickle is I’m not clear on. People reading this with canning and/or pickling knowledge will likely follow this recipe better than the rest of us.  And alum, the size of a walnut!

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