A Pickle Recipe for Elzerena 1877


Rain Water Pickle Recipe.

Back in the late 1800s, the Chicago Tribune newspaper would run a page in every issue where women would write in questions asking readers for advice and recipes. For example, someone in one small town might write in asking what a good matching color would be to decorate a rose colored dining room, or where to find a certain kind of fabric.

Here’s a recipe for Elzerena, who had asked for a pickle recipe in a previous issue.


  • Cucumbers
  • Rain Water
  • Alcohol

This is a first that I’ve seen rain water used in a recipe, and I’ve never heard of pickling using alcohol. Thoughts on this one?

More Fun Discoveries from Antique Cookbooks

11 thoughts on “A Pickle Recipe for Elzerena 1877

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  1. Many areas had hard water in their wells that contained minerals like iron that would turn the pickles dark or rust spots on them. Rain water was collected and used for washing good white cloths in so they would not discolor. Also it would be used in pickling. The water was boiled and wine or other home made liquor added to preserve vegetables. Home grown spices like garlic and dill was also added to the crock.

    I have several heirloom canning and pickling recipes and they have the ingredients listed by parts but the method was just assumed. That was handed down the same way all household chores was done with hands on.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. What you wrote about minerals and water makes complete sense! I’m not sure I would trust my homemade wine for pickling…

      I’ll look for some more pickling recipes. I’ve seen them frequently, but not really spent much time on them…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Apples grew well in that area of the country so they probably made applejack and their own vinegar. Applejack was a hard cider or apple whiskey. If they screwed up it would end up as vinegar. They were very resourceful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I get that sense. I make really nice apple wine, but it ends up more like a pinto grigio than an apple jack. I should save half a bottle and let it turn to vinegar and then throw some cucumbers in to see what happens!

      Liked by 1 person

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