Grandma’s Sweet Pickles

Grandma and Grandpa lived in Brighton, Ontario, a little village to the east of Toronto along Lake Ontario. About twice yearly, my family visited – a trip my sister and I always looked forward to as children. The only unenjoyable part was the stretch of the 401 highway we had to drive for 3 hours to get there. But once we turned off at the Brighton exit and drove down the beautiful roads that wound past apple orchards and century homes, the ugliness of the highway was soon forgotten.

Visiting the grandparents was like stepping back in time. We saw the places where my father lived as a child, we visited the barbershop my grandfather owned for years, and whether at my Great Aunt’s home or my grandmother’s we were surrounded by objects of the past – furniture, jewellery, china – each with its own story. Stories from my grandparents and their siblings abounded – most of which were never finished without an argument about details amongst the tellers and listeners.

The thing that amused my sister and I the most was not usually just the story itself but rather how it was told. My grandparents had a language particular to the time and region in which they grew up and lived. Some of the more interesting phrases and words included yukajonapivy (referring to the private parts – I’m not sure of the spelling), hugmetight (tube top), and suffonsified (the word after which this blog was named). My grandfather was particularly fond of the phrase “whasisname” as he could never remember anyone’s name in any story which he told. This always brought on a round of admonishments from my grandmother and giggles from the peanut gallery (me and my sister).

My grandmother spent a lot of time in the kitchen – not so much because she liked to cook, but rather, I think, to avoid watching my grandfather nodding off to a ballgame. Most cooking sent her into a tizzy of one sort or another – our family has never been short on dramatics. The end result was always tasty but I can’t mention anything in particular that stood out, except maybe her cookies and her sweet pickles. The sweet pickles were a great treat and I remember picking them from dainy serving bowls that one may only find in a grandmother’s collection.

My father wasn’t able to put his hands on my grandmother’s original recipe…likely she knew it by heart. I did find a similar recipe, however, and will share it with you here.

Fourteen Day Sweet Pickles
(Recipe from “Fourteen Day Sweet Pickles”. Bernice Clark.)

  • Use 11 quart basket of small pickles

Cut ends off pickles and place in small crock. Cover pickles with water and add two cups pickling salt. Let stand seven days stirring daily. Drain off brine and cover with boiling water. Next day drain and cut cucumbers into bite size pieces. Add 1 tsp. powdered alum and cover with boiling water. Next day drain and make syrup.


  • 12 cups sugar
  • 6 cups vinegar,
  • 1 oz. celery seed
  • 2 or 3 oz. cassie buds, (2 broken up cinnamon sticks)

Combine and bring to boil, add green food colouring to make syrup dark green and pour over pickles. Next day drain off syrup and add 1 cup sugar and bring to boil and again add to pickles. Next day drain off syrup and bring to boil. Pack pickles into small jars (500 ml.) or smaller. Pour boiling syrup in to fill jars and seal.

Enjoy! And don’t forget to use at least one of the above mentioned words while eating them. Hopefully they will sufficiently suffonsify you!


4 thoughts on “Grandma’s Sweet Pickles

  1. Oh those trips to the grandparents’ home. There’s a certain aura to the memories, almost a gentleness, a quiet. How nice that your blog title is tied in with your past!


  2. Joanne, I actually had written this as my second post and was waiting on my father for the recipe…which he couldn’t find. 😦 It was still a joy walking down memory lane.


  3. Charming story. You made me think of my grandparents. Grandma used to call a couch a davenport. I don’t remember her food much, except the pickled pig’s feet she used to keep in the fridge. Yikes. That was always a shock. Open the fridge and you had a tiny little horror show in a jar.

    Yeah, your story was way more charming than mine. : )

    Melody Platz


  4. Melody, thanks for the laugh and for dropping by!! Pigs feet, eh??? Yum! I can’t remember if my Grandma had anything that I would never deem edible…except maybe my Grandpa’s Horehound.


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