Pros: easy enough for beginners; great tasting end product
Cons: high sodium
I have always enjoyed canning my own fruits and vegetables; making my own jams and sauces, and even pickles. When my family would get serious about pickling, we'd usually grow enough cucumbers and okra to last us the entire year with enough to give away. My daughter is a Pickle Monster and would eat them every day if I let her. I like to have a variety, to satisfy everyone in the family. So, I have my own recipes for sweet pickles, bread and butter pickles, and spicy pickles (as well as relish). But, the bulk of the pickling I always did was plain dill pickles. There have been times when, on one single harvest day, I could have upwards of 20 gallons of pickles and okra to cut, pickle, and jar. I began to search for a quick and easy pickling solution so I wouldn't have to measure, add, and fuss over doing it myself with several ingredients. I have tried a few but did not like the results (taste of pickles) until I tried Mrs. Wages. Her pickling ingredients were pretty identical to mine, and it required no fuss at all. So, thereafter, I only use this brand for my quick fix pickles on those busy days.
This product I am reviewing comes in a 24 pack. In my area, pickling spices are seasonal and the selection is very small, in brick and mortars. At any given time, there might only be 5 packs on the shelf for the entire season when I need 10 or so. And, at $1.50 (abouts) a pack....I have found that if I ever can find it under $25 for a 24 pack, it's a great deal.
Each pack will make about 10-11 quarts of pickles. The only ingredients you need is one pack of Mrs. Wages Dill Pickle Mix, your cucumbers (about 15 lbs), 5 cups of white vinegar (distilled), and about 11 cups of water. There are directions for each type of pickle (whole, spears, sliced) you want to make on the pack, so it is easy enough where a beginner won't have to rely on any guesswork to make their chosen style of pickles. You will have to pack your pickles in the quart jars, make the boil (mix, vinegar, water), and when the boil is done, pour it over the pickles, and then cap the jars. If you don't have a sealer, you will need to process the jars in boiling water for a few minutes, and then check for an airtight seal. You can also store unused brine in your refrigerator safely, for up to one week.(do not store in aluminum or stainless steel containers).
It doesn't take very long before your pickles are ready, you can eat them after 24 hours. I like to let them sit longer before opening the first jar. The longer they sit, the softer they will be. We like pickled okra as well, and I have to let it sit for a month before it tastes like store bought pickle okra (like Trappey's) (according to my tastes). The resulting pickle juice tastes a lot like Vlassic or other brands, and do not have a vinegar medicinal taste like other mixes I have used did. This mix always gave my pickles a perfect dill taste every time.
I'll sometimes add a clove of garlic in a few jars as I pickle the cucumbers, to give it a hint of garlic flavor. But, for the most part, this mix is so perfect for me, I leave them with no added ingredients for taste.
The ingredients are as follows:
Salt, Potassium Alum Powder, Natural spice Extractives, Polysorbate 80, Citric Acid, EDTA and TBHQ (preservatives)
The Nutritional Panel is as follows:
Serving Size 1/4 tsp
Servings per container about 270
Total Fat 0g
Saturated Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 320 mg
Total Carbs 0 g
Sugars 0 g
I bolded the sodium content so it may stand out. Since this is a pickling brine mix, it's not surprising that this has an unbelievable amount of sodium. But, for those who watch their sodium intake, you may want to limit yourself to the amount of pickles you consume since a lot of that sodium will work it's way into the cucumbers in the brine.
I would recommend Mrs. Wages to anyone who pickles at home. It's great for the beginner or those who have never done it before because this mix makes it a very simple process. The resulting flavor of the liquid rivals any of the top selling brands on store shelves (of finished pickles in jars), in my opinion. It's been a real time saver for me over the years.