Pickles and relishes have played a crucial role in Maine cooking for centuries, adding lift and sparkle to many a homespun meal in days of old.

Although it’s no longer necessary to “put up” food as our forebears did, it’s still fun and rewarding to make pickles with produce at its seasonal peak.

These days you have the option of preserving using the water bath canning process, or treating the vegetables as refrigerator pickles, where they will keep for at least four weeks.


Kirby cucumbers, sometimes called pickling cucumbers, are smallish cucumbers without many seeds. They are sold unwaxed, so that the pretty green peel can be included in the pickling process.

Makes about 4 pints


3 pounds Kirby cucumbers, washed and sliced thin

1 cup sliced onions

¼ cup kosher salt

2 cups cider vinegar

2 cups sugar

1 tablespoon whole mustard seeds


1 teaspoon celery seeds

¾ teaspoon ground turmeric

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

Toss the cucumbers in a large bowl with onions and salt. Add a handful of ice cubes and mix again. Cover and set aside at room temperature for 3 hours, stirring once or twice. Drain well in a colander.

Combine the vinegar, sugar, mustard and celery seed, turmeric and cloves in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the drained cucumbers. Return the liquid just to the boiling point and remove from the heat.

Let pickles cool in the brine and then pack into jars or plastic containers.


Refrigerate for at least 12 hours or for up to 4 weeks.


Most traditional chutney recipes call for simmering the fruit-spice mixture for upwards of 2 hours. This one, a delectable sweet-hot apple and tomato blend, is done in less than 30 minutes, start to finish.

It’s great served atop a curry or spread on meat or cheese sandwiches.

Makes about 3 cups

2 tablespoons vegetable oil


1 medium onion, thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 large tart apples, such as Granny Smith, unpeeled, cored and cut into ½-inch dice

1 large tomato, cored and cut into ½-inch dice

½ cup raisins

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger root


1 teaspoon minced fresh or pickled jalapeño

¼ teaspoon ground allspice

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

¾ cup distilled white vinegar

2/3 cup packed brown sugar

½ cup orange juice


1 teaspoon salt, plus more if needed

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a wide, deep skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to soften, about 5 minutes.

Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

Add the apples, tomato, raisins, ginger, jalapeño, allspice and cloves and cook, stirring, until the fruit begins to give up its juices, about 3 minutes.

Add the vinegar, sugar, orange juice, salt and pepper, and bring to a boil, stirring.


Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered, until the apples are soft and the juices are reduced and thickened, about 10 minutes. (Do not cook until dry, because the chutney will thicken as it cools. Add a bit of water if necessary.)

Cool and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or for up to 2 weeks. Adjust salt, if necessary, before using.

Brooke Dojny is the author or co-author of more than a dozen cookbooks, most recently “Chowderland: Hearty Soups & Stews with Sides and Salads to Match.” She lives on the Blue Hill peninsula, and can be contacted via Facebook at:


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