The Great Torshe Experiment

My Iraqi friend brought some delicious, yellow, pickled mixed vegetables to share when we had a covered dish / potluck / pitch in, one day, at work.  They knocked my socks off and I asked if his wife could give me the recipe or if it was one of those everything-to-taste recipes. He said he would ask.

She tried. Bless her sweet heart. And I am incredibly grateful for her effort. But, it’s one of those recipes that is everything according to your taste. So, it isn’t going to be an easy thing for me to make. The first time.  And it requires an unfamiliar ingredient.  The pickling spice is not the same combination as American pickles use.

I had to find it in an Arabic grocery store.  And I ONLY speak American English.  This did NOT help.  But, the very nice people at the Mecca Market in Raleigh did their best to understand what the hell I was talking about. And I have a package of this.


And I have all the other ingredients for the recipe. So, I’m going to try it tomorrow.  In the mean time, here is what she sent me. I will add quantities as I figure them out.

1. Cucumber (small size) pickle (She used dill pickles.)
2. Cabbage
3. Carrot
4. Green pepper
5. Garlic
6. Vinegar (apple cider)
7. Lemon juice
8. Citric acid
9. Salt
10. Olive oil
11. Parsley
12. Torshe spices (Iraqi spices, in Raleigh Arabic store)

1. Chop each of parsley and garlic. Mix them together.
2. Wash cucumber pickles and slit it them up one side. Put them in a strainer.
3. Stuff the cucumbers with the garlic and parsley mixture and place in a clean, dry jar.
4. Mix vinegar, lemon juice, citric acid, garlic and salt together. *I usually lighten the vinegar with water (1 cup vinegar / 1 cup water) or 2 cups vinegar / 2 cups water. Put this part together as you like for more sour or salty.
5. Boil each of cabbage, carrots and green pepper separately and put them in the strainer until they cool.
6. Arrange the vegetables in the form of layers above the cucumbers.
7. Make another mixture, same ingredients. But, this time, you have to add Torshe spices.
8. Add mixture until it covers all the vegetables.
9. Add some olive oil on top to prevent mustiness.
10. Close the jar tightly and leave it at room temperature. After 2 or 3 days, the torshe will be ready to eat.

Further questioning gave me the information that you put hot solution on the stuffed pickles and cold solution with the torshe spice over the whole thing. And you cook the other vegetables until they are almost done but still have crunch and you stop the cooking so that they aren’t completely right allowing the solution to finish cooking them.


First try:

1 quart with stuffed dill cucumber pickles, carrot, bell pepper, red cabbage chunks and slivers.

1 pint without cucumbers but with 50/50 parsley/garlic mixture on the top of the other vegetables.

3 half pints of Mexican sour gherkins with parsley/garlic mixture on top.

Pickling solution poured over all of them (boiling):
2 c. vinegar
2 c. water
2 Tbsp. torshe spice
1 Tbsp. salt
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. citric acid

Sealed in canning jars.

Pearl Williams’s Dill Pickles

From my friend Nancy Williams.

3 cups white vinegar (5% acidity)
9 cups water
11 Tablespoons pickling salt (UNiodized)

Sterilize your jars, lids and rings. Combine the ingredients to make a brine. Bring to a boil and keep at a simmer on the stove while you pack your jars. Into each jar put:

1 clove garlic (more if you’d like)
1 teaspoon whole pepper corns
loads of fresh or dried dill
1 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional, for spicy pickles)
1/2 tsp mustard seed (optional)
All the cucumbers you can pack in

Pour boiling hot brine over the contents of each jar to within 1/2 inch of top. Wipe the jar tops with a clean, dry cloth. Put lids on, twist the rings down tight. You’ll have better luck with jars sealing if you do this step one jar at a time.

You may, if you’d like, process the jars for up to 5 minutes in a boiling water bath. It doesn’t hurt the texture and it helps the jars seal.

Dandelion Jelly

from Jil McIntosh

Pack a 1-litre canning jar with dandelion flowers – only the heads, no stems.

Pour boiling water over to fill, and let stand ten minutes, no longer.


 Measure 3 cups water.

 Add one 57-gram box of Certo crystals.

Bring to a boil.

Stir in 3-1/2 cups sugar, return to a boil, and boil hard 1 minute.

 Bottle and process 5 minutes.

Makes 4-1/2 cups

Preserved cherries

Recipe in the Washington Post

I think I’ll make some of these and give them to my family who like Manhattans for Xmas.


These cherries have a much more complex, sweet-and-savory taste than the jarred, neon-red maraschino cherries you find at the supermarket. Try them in a Manhattan or a Shirley Temple — or just use them to top an ice cream sundae.
The cherries will keep, covered and refrigerated, for about two weeks. Or you may can them for long-term storage: Pack the cherries and juice in hot, sterilized jars and seal according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Place in a water-bath canner and process for 20 minutes for pint jars.
Makes about 65 cherries


  • 2 pints bing cherries, pitted
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • Juice of 1 medium lemon
  • 1 tablespoon almond extract


Place the cherries in a shallow heatproof glass or ceramic bowl.
In a medium saucepan over high heat, combine 1 1/4 cups of the water and the salt. Bring to a boil, stirring until the salt has dissolved. Remove from the heat; allow to cool for 10 minutes, then pour the liquid over the cherries. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Drain the cherries, discarding the liquid, and rinse them with cold water. Wash the bowl in which the cherries were refrigerated and return them to the clean bowl. Set aside.
In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the sugar, lemon juice and remaining 1/4 cup of water. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar, then remove from the heat and add the almond extract. Pour the mixture over the cherries; let cool, then cover and refrigerate overnight, stirring occasionally.

Recipe Source:

From Todd Thrasher of Restaurant Eve in Alexandria.
Tested by Michael Taylor for The Washington Post

Nanny’s Sweet Pickles

You can make as much pickles as you have cucumbers for with this recipe.  My paternal grandmother would can anything that was ripe and ready, whether she had a handful or a potful.  I have found that 5.5 -6 lbs of cucumbers makes about 9 pints of pickles.

Put whole cucumbers in a container and pour boiling water over all of them.  Let them sit overnight.  Next day, pour of the water and cover them with boiling water again. Do this for 4 days.  On the 5th day, cut up the cucumbers (Thicker makes crisper pickles) and mix:

6 c. sugar
3 c. vinegar
2 Tbsp. salt
1½ Tbsp. pickling spice  (You buy it at the grocery in the spice aisle.  Nanny thought I was nuts to question that.) 

Make enough of this solution to cover the cucumbers.  Simple math will work to make more if you need it.  A minor variation in the amount of salt isn’t significant.

Bring the mixture to a boil and pour it over the sliced cucumbers.  Allow to sit for 2 days.  On the 7th day, bring the entire batch to a boil, place in jars and seal. Allow to set for @ a month until there are no more white blotches on the cucumbers.

Short cut:

You can turn on the eye and bring the mixture to a boil and allow it to cool every time it crosses your mind on days 5-7 and the pickles will be ready to eat when you are ready to put them in the jars.  This does make for a  more syrupy juice, which my mother doesn’t care for. I add more vinegar to the pot when I know she’ll be getting some.

My family love these in tuna salad, on burgers or on a cracker with cheddar cheese and mustard.