The Mistake In My Pantry

I am a novice canner. We had so many cucumbers this year that I made pickles for the first time. I found a good recipe for bread and butter pickles. While I washed the cucumbers, KH said, “Grandma sliced the cucumbers with a cutter that made them look like pickles.” And I even had one of those special cutters.

I mixed the cucumbers, onions, and ice in a bowl and weighted them down with a plate and a jug of vinegar on top. This sat on my kitchen counter for the required hours. Then, I mixed the vinegar, seasonings and sugar with the cucumbers, heated and ladled them into the jars. I processed them and set them on the counter. The kitchen didn’t look as good as they did, and I was glad to finish.

Later that day I made baby dills. I reached for the canning and pickling salt on the top shelf and thought, “I haven’t been in this cabinet today. Did I use the salt in the other pickles? I don’t  remember using the salt earlier. Did the recipe call for salt?”

All those pints of pickles had not been soaked in the salt. I felt sick to death with my mistake. My husband said, “Well, I’m sure they will be fine. We can just salt them when we eat them.”

I knew—and he probably did, too—that the salt changes the texture of the cucumber and makes it a pickle.

At our house, The Parable of the Pickle is infamous. In that talk, Elder David A. Bednar, a member of the Quorum of the Apostles, said:

A pickle is a cucumber that has been transformed according to a specific recipe and series of steps. . . .One of the principal purposes of our mortal existence is to be spiritually changed and transformed through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. . . .A cucumber only becomes a pickle through steady, sustained, and complete immersion in salt brine. Significantly, salt is the key ingredient in the recipe. Salt frequently is used in the scriptures as a symbol both of a covenant and of a covenant people. And just as salt is essential in transforming a cucumber into a pickle, so covenants are central to our spiritual rebirth.

I missed that important step of adding the salt. My pickles may be “ruined” in my mind, but the experience wasn’t. Like he said, “Interestingly, simple and ordinary experiences often provide the most important learning opportunities we ever have.”

1 Comment

  1. Ryan
    Sep 14, 2008

    This is perfect timing. I have to give a talk today, and I’m going to use what you quoted–thanks for sharing!

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