Prep 600 hrs
Cook 0 mins
Crunchy, sweet, tart and spicy, my mother used to make these lovely pickles every summer. When she passed away there was only one single jar of them left on her pantry shelf, and it took me 2 years to find her recipe for them (hidden away, written on a card tucked into one of her zillion cook books!). Great to snack on, but the most delicious pickles to use in macaroni, potato, ham salad and such. These are well worth the almost 3 weeks it takes to make them!
- 16 lbs whole cucumbers
- canning salt
- 7 tablespoons alum
- 1 1⁄2 gallons white vinegar (5% acidity)
- 8 lbs sugar
- 1 (5/8 ounce) container whole cloves
- 2 ounces cinnamon sticks, broken up
- 1 ounce celery seed
- 1 ounce mustard seeds
- Wash cucumbers and inspect them carefully to make sure the skins are not pierced or have any cuts in them. Place into a large crock (I don't have a crock so I use a clean 5 gallon bucket).
- Combine 2 cups of canning salt with 1 gallon of cold water and stir until the salt is dissolved. Pour salt brine on the cucumbers. Repeat until cucumbers are completely covered with salt brine (in the bucket I use, it takes about 2.5 gallons of salt brine to cover well).
- Place a dinner plate on top of the cucumbers followed by a heavy weight so that the cucumbers remain submerged. Get creative! I use a dinner plate followed by a heavy bowl, followed by a plastic cover and then pressed a board over the top and weighted it down with a jug of juice). The objective is to keep the cucumbers submerged, and I like to keep the whole thing covered to keep dust and cat hair out of the bucket.
- Soak the cucumbers for 21 days, periodically checking it for any mold or scum that might float to the top. Skim any of that off. About midway through the soaking process, dissolve another cup of canning salt into a few cups of water and pour into the brine.
- After 21 days in the salt brine, remove the cucumbers and wash them in cold water. Pour the salt brine out of the bucket and wash and dry it out.
- Cut the cucumbers however you desire. I prefer to slice them, however, they can be cut into chunks or spears. (note here that the cucumbers are not going to smell good at all, and if you have used large cucumbers they will likely be hollow after the soak. Press on, they're okay!).
- Put the cut up cucumbers into the clean bucket, cover with water and let soak for 24 hours.
- After 24 hours, drain the water off the cucumbers.
- Combine 7 tablespoons alum with one gallon of cold water and stir until the alum is dissolved. Pour over the cut cucumbers. Then add enough water to make sure cukes are completely covered. Swish them around a little and then let soak for 6 hours.
- After 6 hours, drain the alum water off the cucumbers. Give the cut cumbers a rinse and drain well. Return cucumbers to the bucket.
- Bring 1.5 gallons of vinegar to a boil and pour over the cucumbers. Let sit for 24 hours.
- After 24 hours, drain the vinegar off the cucumbers. Layer the cucumbers with the sugar, cinnamon, cloves, mustard seed and celery seed until all the sugar, spices and cukes are layered. Then using your hands, gently stir it all together.
- Let the cucumbers cure in the sugar and spices for 3 days, stirring once each day. The pickles are now done! You can now transfer the pickles into clean and sterile jars and put lids on them. These pickles do not require sealing in a water bath. You can leave them in the crock if you like.