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Recipe for Great Grandma Howlett’s Sour Mustard Pickles

Great Grandma Howlett's Sour Mustard Pickles

  • Servings: approximately 20-24 quarts
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  • 1/2 bushel medium-sized (2 to 3 inches) pickling cucumbers
  • 20-24 sterilized standard quart canning jars and lids

Pickling Solution (note–in order to make 20-24 quarts of pickles, you will need to make about 5 batches of pickling solution):

  • 1/2 cup pickle salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup dry mustard
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 quart vinegar
  • 1 quart water
  • alum for the tops of jars


Wash pickling cucumbers and soak whole cucumbers for 24 hours in a solution of half vinegar and half water to cover.  This is the soaking solution only.

After soaking, remove cucumbers from soaking solution and chop the cucumbers into chunks and place in sterilized canning jars. Place one teaspoon of alum on the top of each jar of cucumbers. Make pickling solution by mixing pickle salt, sugar, mustard and turmeric.  In a 2 quart measuring bowl, place mixed dry ingredients.  Then slowly pour in the quart of vinegar and quart of water.  Stir well, stirring out any lumps.  Carefully pour pickling solution into each quart jar of pickles, filling to the top.  You may need to stir a couple times in between pouring.  Mix additional batches of the pickling solution until all jars are full of cucumbers and pickling solution.  Put sterilized tops and lids on canning jars and close tightly.  Let stand in a cool, dry place for at least three weeks before using.  Refrigerate jar after opening.  Enjoy!


  1. I’ve been dabbling with pickling more and more recently, but have never done mustard pickles. Sounds like a great variation though. Have bookmarked this, and definitely going to give it a go. Thanks!

    • Thank you! I hope you enjoy the pickles!

      • Will the jars seal? I have made numerous pickles, but never ones that you do not boil the solution!

      • Hi, sorry for the delayed response! For some reason, I am seeing this comment just today. Yes, if you use canning jars with new canning lids and screw the tops on tightly, they will seal. With so much vinegar in the solution, we have always had good results with the pickles being good and crunchy. 🙂

      • No mention of boiling the pickling solution?

      • Hi Andrew, no, we don’t boil the solution in this recipe.

  2. My grandmother made pickles and put in a bowl in her fridge and we would grab one when ever we wanted. This looks like the juice she made but she didn’t can them. Would I need to?

  3. It says to put a tablespoon of alum on the top of the jar I’m not sure what that means like around the edges of the jar on top of the pickles this is my first time doing this so I don’t know what I’m doing if you could please help

    • Hi Melody, just put the teaspoon (remember it’s a teaspoon and not a tablespoon) of alum on top of the pickles. Then when you screw the top on the jar, you can gently turn the jar upside down a couple times to distribute all the ingredients. Best of luck and have fun! Let me know if you have more questions!

  4. Can I do spears instead of chips?

    • Hi Cassie, sure, I think spears would be fine. The reason we do chips is probably because these pickles are pretty strongly flavored and a small bite goes a long way.😊 But you could always cut the spears when serving, if you decided you wanted to.

  5. Do you do white vinegar or apple cider vinegar?

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