Mother, daughters, niece can pickles

Published 10:23 am Saturday, August 6, 2011

Lois Minetree, from left, with daughters Lucy Wallace and Ann Schuler and niece Vicki Minetree, sample pickles. -- DON BRIDGERS | TIDEWATER NEWS


FRANKLIN—When 87-year-old Lois Minetree told her two daughters it was too hot for her to continue making their favorite sweet cucumber pickles every summer, the girls came up with a solution. They would spend a weekend with their mother and do the job with her supervision.

“This makes our fourth year,” Minetree said. “And it has worked very well, although the original weekend visit has turned into more like a weeklong visit.”

Daughters Ann Schuler, 57, and Lucy Wallace, 54, both of North Carolina, and niece Vicki Minetree, 61, from Colonial Heights, in early summer pickle as many as 140 pints of cucumbers. They make crisp sweet, and bread and butter.

“Seems like I’ve been making these pickles forever,” Lois Minetree said. “Actually, I got the recipes, one contributed by Mrs. W.H. Howell III and the other by Betty Simmons, from a Franklin Hospital Auxiliary cookbook in 1971. That’s been 40 years.”

Lois Minetree’s daughters stay with her and her husband, Allen, during pickle week, while her niece commutes.

“This is a really fun time for us,” Wallace said. “About a week before we come down, we’re on the phone with each other, deciding what day we’re coming, who is going to bring what, things like that. Things are pretty well organized when we get here. So far things have worked out really well.”

Wallace, a public information officer for the state of North Carolina, and Schuler, a nurse at Alamance Regional Medical Center in Burlington, use vacation time to attend pickle week.

A former teacher in the Franklin school system, Lois Minetree has lived in Franklin since 1964. They had three children; their son passed away in 1993.

After Lois Minetree retired, she spent 10 years working at the Franklin Library, when it was in the Pace House. She is a board member for Friends of the Library.

Lois Minetree loves to cook, but it’s not first on her list.

“Allen and I eat very simply, so I don’t make big meals, unless the girls and their families visit,” she said. “They all come at Thanksgiving and Christmas, and that’s when I cook the most.”

“I did enjoy making pickles, though, until it became too much work for me,” Lois Minetree added.


7 lbs. cucumbers, sliced
2 heaping cups pickling lime
5 lbs. sugar
3 pints vinegar
2 Tbls. pickling spice

Soak cucumbers in two gallons limewater for 24 hours. Wash and soak cucumbers in clear water every hour for 4 hours. Combine sugar, vinegar and spices; bring to boil and cool. Add cucumbers to cool syrup and let stand 24 hours or overnight. Bring to boil and cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Pack pickles and syrup in hot jars.