Sharing Food and Memories with Friends and Family

November 11, 2011
Irene Saiger


Rosie’s Pickled Vegetables (Hamutzim)

My mother had close friends who moved to Israel in the 1940s and settled on a Moshav, Kfar Meishar, near Gedera.  Although she had not seen them since the end of the war they had kept in touch, and when I made my first trip to Israel at age 16,  my mother insisted that I visit them.  Sonia and Manya made me feel right at home even though I spoke no Hebrew and very little Yiddish.  They doted on me, and took turns serving me food that was not only familiar, but almost identical to the food that my mother served.  The women and their families lived in houses that were spitting distance from one another and each day I was asked whose house I was going to sleep in and where I would be eating breakfast, lunch and dinner.  I often ended up eating six meals a day, trying hard not to offend either of them.  They couldn’t do enough for me and the intensity of their affection did not push me away, it drew me in, like being wrapped in a warm blanket on a rainy day.  Sonia and Manya are no longer alive but when either my daughter or I go to Israel, we always visit their children and grandchildren.  Friendships that span three generations are rare and it only happens if everyone makes the effort to keep the connection alive.  I could never imagine visiting Israel without spending time with Sonya’s son and daughter-in-law, Aharon and Rosie.  I know that they will welcome us with open arms and I know that Rosie will have pickled vegetables sitting on her kitchen counter.  It’s nice knowing that there are some things you can always count on.

Rosie’s Pickled Vegetables

1 Kohlrabi, cut in thick strips.

3-5 large carrots, cut in bite size pieces

1 red cabbage, sliced

1 cauliflower, broken into small pieces

1 red pepper, sliced

1 green pepper, sliced

1 Serrano chili, cut in pieces

1 head of garlic, peeled

Place the vegetables in a large jar with a lid.


4 cups of boiling water

2 cups of white vinegar

2 Tbs salt

1/2 cup sugar

Mix ingredients for brine and pour over vegetables, making sure vegetables are covered with liquid.  Do not refrigerate.  Hamutzim will be ready in 2-3 days.




9 thoughts on “Rosie’s Pickled Vegetables (Hamutzim)

  1. Dear Irene, thank you for this delightful recipe for hamutzim. I prepared it two days ago and it is fermenting in a secluded spot in my chilly (but not cold) garage right now. I may take a sneak-peek later, but tomorrow is probably best to sample.
    I shared your wonderful story with a dear friend from Israel who knows this moshav well; his surname is Mazor.
    Toda raba, Irene!
    Lynn C.
    Silicon Valley, CA

    • Lynn,

      Did I ever reply? Somehow I stopped getting comments. I hope they were a success?? We just made them again for Passover. Did he live there or have friends there? We know two families very well. Unterstains and Kolkovitch. Let me know please.

  2. Hello,

    I grew up in Kfar Meishr and now I live in Baltimore Maryland for almost 41 years.
    I wonder what was the last name of your friends.

    Ami Kantorow

    • Hi Ami,
      Sorry it took me so long to respond. I have been out of town, busy eating!! Both the Untersteins and the Kolkovich families are friends of my parents from pre-war Poland. When I went to Israel at age 16 for my first trip, I was told that I had to go meet these old family friends. We are now third generation friends as my children are friendly with the Unterstein children. I would love to know if you do know them and also how your family came to Meishar?

      Hope your holidays were wonderful.

      All the Best,

      P.S. How did you find me??

  3. shalom irene

    i almost never leave a post to anything on the net, but…
    thanks (toda) for sharing your story about your mother’s friends
    my mother is a holocaust survivor from eastern europe; and from my life
    for so many decades in central phila pa (usa); what you described is what i
    consider to be one of the most unique ethnic traits in jewish culture; even with
    non-relatives, you are treated like family in many situations; i could just
    picture it:
    “Here, eat, do you have enough, here i have some more of this (or that)…aren’t you hungry? you need to eat more!…Here have some…”
    well, you get the drift. but again thanks for sharing such a wonderful story.


    • Thank you Mike!! I am heading to NYC to take care of my adult children who are the primary motivators for recording these stories. I am so appreciative of your e-mailing me. Where is your Mom from??? I would love to know more if you have a chance. Recipe always welcome! Philly is one of my favorite cities and have spent lots of time there.

      Shana Tovah,


  4. did u make some? i am coming over. the stories are beautiful as always, but 6 meals a day? wow!!!!! love u

  5. Hi Dorothye,

    I am indeed but Elizabeth and David won’t be with us, still we hope to have a good turn out. I understand how he feels. I would miss the leftovers as well. I always make turkey pot pie the day after Thanksgiving.

    Thanks for writing Dorothye. The same to you and Melvyn. Off to see the kids in NYC this week so the next post will most likely be after Thanksgiving.


Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: