Cucumber season


The story behind Czech pickles

My parents Ella & Vaclav Konecny have always had a cucumber patch here in Michigan. When they came to the United States four decades ago, they did not like American pickles because either they were too sour, too sweet or both.

Coming from the Moravian region in Czechoslovakia which produces one of the best canning goods around, they decided to take the matter into their own hands. They had a recipe from Czech Republic, so they put it to use.

Ella Konecny with flagship sweet and sour pickles.
Ella Konecny with flagship sweet and sour pickles.

The real big deal annually was the fact that during the ripening season of cucumbers, they would leave for vacation. It was either left up to us to pick the cucumbers, and leave them in the fridge to be canned. Later, they switched their vacationing habit to accommodate the almighty cucumber. At their peak, they made hundreds of jars of pickles that they usually gave away. Most recently, they took an entire box of pickles to Florida.

When my mom had a surgery with her back three years ago, the pickling task was up to us. I canned before but never quite as much. Living up to their expectations hasn’t always been easy, but this was a very definite challenge. Since then, my husband and I have developed a knack for canning to the point of loving it. Even though my back is killing me, and I probably should be writing another chapter in my memoir, I still like the down to earth business of canning. I have expanded from Czech pickles to gardinieras, marinaras and salsas. The biggest surprise is yet ahead.

I like the joy of making a true Czech American product in my own backyard.

Follow me on my blog, I will be broadcasting live this Sunday from Czech Harvest in Bannister.

Copyright © 2013 story and photos by Emma Palova

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