A Haven for Vee

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Lady Ashburnham and Her Fans

Mom is so cute that I couldn't choose just one

The story of Lady Ashburnham pickles is a New Brunswick one. You see Lady Ashburnham was from Fredericton, New Brunswick.  She fell in love with a British Lord. You can read that story *here* if you enjoy such things. We did.

This sort of pickle making was a weekend project. One can not possibly make Lady Ashburnham's in a day. I've been "after" my mother for a while to make them and last weekend was the time. My mother has made these nearly every summer/fall since I can remember.

Last autumn, you may remember, my mother was critically ill and not expected to live. I was standing in her basement looking at the neat row of Lady Ashburnham's on her pantry shelf when I began to cry. Somehow, as silly as it may seem, Lady Ashburnham's had become symbolic of all that my sister and I, our children, and my grandchildren were about to lose.

The good news is that the Lord intervened and we have Mother. Life is not all lollipops and rainbows for my mother by any stretch, but she is still with us and we are so very grateful.

Okay, enough of the background story as this is about Lady Ashburnham's and Mother is very serious about Lady Ashburnham's. She was quite shocked to discover that I thought it was all about taking pictures for my blog and even suggested that I didn't want to learn about this pickle making at all. Silly girl!

Day One:

1. The right color...a yellow cucumber indicates that it is ripe and a partially yellow cucumber is fine

2. The right size...large is excellent; otherwise, two for one if the cucumbers are small (some fine year, we'll work on quart measurements)

3. Sigh...just look at this improper peeling method! Try as I might, I can not get Mother to change her methods. She's always peeled toward herself and very cheekily says, "I haven't lost a finger yet."

4. Scoop the cucumber down to the solid flesh (its not yours). John had this fun job.

5. Slice into strips

6. Cut the strips into bite-sized chunks

7. A nice bowl full of both cucumbers and onions (I had the nasty job of chopping two quarts of onions.)

8. Adding the salt

9. Stirring well

Day Two:

1. Rinse salt from cucumber/onion mixture thoroughly

2. Add cider vinegar

3. Add the sugar

4. Powdered spices go into the sauce; celery seed and mustard seed are cooked with the cucumbers and onions

5. Sauce

6. You can see the celery seed and mustard seed with the cucumbers/onions

7. Sauce is added to the partially cooked cucumber/onion mixture after the sauce is partially thickened and continues simmering...

8. for an hour without reaching a boil

9. Labels ready

The final product. These pickles are a wonderful complement to casseroles, baked beans, hot dogs and hamburgers, and some people even make tartar sauce with them. 

Mother would like to add that we used an assortment of saved jars that were sterilized (she used a microwave method for the jars while boiling the lids in water on the stove.) The filled jars were given a hot water bath in the canning kettle. She thinks most people would prefer using regular canning jars. We would, too, but we're cheap frugal.

You will note that my mom went off script for this recipe, but then she's a pip the expert!

*Printable Recipe for Lady Ashburnham's*


  1. Without knowing you personally, I love your family. How beautiful that you wanted to watch and share something like this with your mother. She must have been very touched to hear about the way you felt last year when she was so ill and those pickles were so meaningful to you. - - Might I add that I think she's beautiful with her apron and necklace! When I can, I'm in jeans and don't look pretty at all. Your mother could host a TV show!!

  2. Mark this as one of my favorite posts. Love it so much!!! Your mother is adorable and this recipe is intense!!!!

    Thanks for sharing so much of your heart in this tutorial.


    Becky K.

  3. Your Mom is as cute as her apron! And that apron is very, very cute!


    Lovely to see/read of your Joy! Both her Joy and your Joy.

    Gentle hugs...

  4. Wow..thanks for the recipe, and I really appreciate your thorough tutorial..

  5. Your mom is so cute! I'm so glad that she's still around and 'kickin'! It's such a blessing to get to spend these treasured times together and make pickles (and memories) side by side! Precious!

    I'm now sad that my garden is gone. I've read the romantic story, printed off the recipe and can't wait for next summer to make these delicious sounding pickles. I've never heard of them - guess being way down here in Texas one might not know.

    Anyway, I'm looking forward to having some of these! I loved this post about you and your mom! One of my favorites, too!

  6. What a beautiful Mom. It is so wonderful that you took pictures.

    Love the way she peels using a paring knife cutting toward her - just like my grandma and mom did.

    Thanks for the recipe. That was really special of you to share it with us.

    Now, do you really add flour?

  7. What a great post! And your Mom is one cutie-patootie! The pickles look amazing. I may just have to try this myself..oh, who am I kidding. I don't cook..or can..but I can enjoy looking at yours!

  8. How wonderful that you and your Mom could make these together and create this memory.

    My Mom made the best Bread and Butter pickles! I don't know what happened to the recipe. Two of my sisters are looking for it. I wanted to make some this summer from my cucumbers. If we find the recipe, I will do a post next summer on it.

    Loved the pictures of your Mom..

  9. What a treasure to do this with your Mom and to record it in photos! She looks so happy, Vee. The Lady Ashburnham pickles sounds so good..and sweet...I know I'd like them! Thanks for the recipe. Do you process them in a hot water bath to seal them after putting them in the jars? I do that when I jar fresh tomatoes.

    I have some photos of my mother-in-law cooking before she got ill and also other family members making holiday treats, so when my son was getting married I made a family cookbook for my daughter-in-law and asked her Mom to contribute photos, recipes, and stories behind them from her side of the family. It was the hit of her bridal shower and everyone vowed they were going to go home and do the same. It is so good to pass on these simple acts and pleasures to the next generation!

  10. What a great post and your mom looks happy and is a beautiful lady!!
    Great job on the photos!!

  11. Vee. .how wonderful to have your mother in the pickle business again this year. ..I share your joy in that.
    The pickles are erally similar to my hot dog relish that I make with my mom in law. .I'm going to compare the recipes and see. . .how fun. She helps me with mine too and I also did the picture taking and onion cutting.

  12. Love it! Such fun and joy in this post, Vee! And hey, I also peel towards myself. In fact I don't know anyone who doesn't! All fingers present and correct.
    Lovely to see your beautiful mUm laughing too!

  13. I am so glad you still have your Mother and were able to do this post! What a memory it will be and what a beautiful and sweet lady she is. I do have to say though....I peel like your Mom! :) Is that wrong? I never knew!

  14. man, would i love one of those pickles!

    remember buckwheat? "i'll give you a
    nickel for a pickle!"

    loved the photos, the recipe, and how
    cute your mom is!

  15. What a fun and joy-filled post! The pickles sound scrumptious.
    I'm another "peel towards me" person and I've never had an accident with the peeler yet.

  16. That looks like you both had a great day. Your mom has such a sweet smile. It should take you awhile to finish all those jars.

  17. What a sweet mother and she's adorable too! I loved this post!

  18. Now that made me smile...right down to using the recycled jars because 'we're cheap'! Your mom looks great...and how nice to have help in pickling. I'm still planning to do some pickling of my own...and might just have to check out your recipe.

  19. Your mom is adorable! It looks like a lot of work, but I know it's worth it.

  20. Wow, that looks like quite a production ~ I imagine the taste is worth every moment. Very sweet photos of your mom and great instructional mosaics too!

    I have enjoyed reading many of your past posts as well!

  21. Hi Vee

    So glad that you are getting the chance to make pickles and spend time with your Mum. Love the look of the final "product!" I'm off to get the recipe...


  22. Vee, how wonderful of you to share this pickle making process - if only my computer were scratch 'n sniff! I, like your mom, also peel towards me - I've tried the other way and I just can't do it - and I still have 10 fingers! Thanks for sharing this wonderful family tradition!

    p.s. your step by step photos are terrific!

  23. Now as if I didn't have enough to can along you come Miss Pris with a new pickle recipe that you KNOW I won't be able to resist!!! And I need you to email me (your address which I've misplaced) because I have a cookbook to mail you, it's been sitting here on the sideboard for several weeks!

  24. oh wow! This is so wonderful! I'm coming back to pick up the recipe. Thank you so much. I love the labels too. I too love your family ♥

  25. Mmmmm! Could just smell the aroma of that pickle brine filling the house! What fun. You know, the thought came to me, that your mother is a very blessed woman to have a daughter like you...filling her life with so many shared memories...the laughter, the experiences you have together! I rarely get to spend time with my sweet, joyful daughter and my Mama's in heaven now. I know you make the most of every day. Thank you for sharing this piece of comfort and home with us.

  26. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this post Vee! First of all, your mother is so cute! I love the story behind the recipe. My aunt, who is now gone, one awards at the fair for her bread and butter pickles. Never learned the art, but NOW I have your mother's recipe to try out! Thanks a million! Adding this post to my list of all time favorites!


  27. My aunt used to make Lady Ashburnham Pickles, saying that they were a great way to use those cucumbers that had gone too far. The lovely mustardy vibe was delicious right out of the jar, or on a slice of ham in the middle of winter, or on a hamburger or hotdog... so yummy!

    1. Such a nice comment that I allowed it even though it is "Unknown" and written so long after the post first appeared. I will always miss my mother's Lady Ashburnham Pickles for it is unlikely that I will ever make them again.


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