Prep 24 hrs
Cook 96 hrs
This recipe is on several internet sites so not sure who really to give credit to but did not see anything like it on Zaar. I looked at it and thought "Oh Brother" but it was worth it. Really it was! Super little sweet crunchy gherkins!
- 5 quarts cucumbers (Pickling cucumbers 1 1/2 to 3 Inch long)
- 1⁄2 cup pickling salt
- 8 cups granulated sugar (divided through recipe)
- 6 cups distilled white vinegar (divided through recipe)
- 3⁄4 teaspoon turmeric
- 2 teaspoons celery seeds
- 2 teaspoons pickling spices
- 8 pieces cinnamon sticks (1 inch)
- 1⁄2 teaspoon fennel seed (Optional but good)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (Optional but good)
- Wash cucumbers, blossom, ends removed. Use the littlest ones you can find!
- FIRST DAY:
- In the afternoon, place cucumbers in large bowl and cover with boiling water; let stand 6 hours or overnight.
- SECOND DAY:.
- In the morning, drain cucumbers and cover with fresh boiling water. Let stand 6 hours.
- In the afternoon, drain cucumbers; add salt; cover with fresh boiling water.
- THIRD DAY:.
- In the morning, drain cucumbers; prick with fork. Combine 3 cups of the sugar, 3 cups of the vinegar, herbs, and spices (except vanilla extract) in a pan. Heat to the boiling point and pour over cucumbers.
- In the afternoon, drain syrup mixture into a large pan; add 2 cups of the sugar and 2 more cups of the vinegar. Heat to boiling and pour over cucumbers. Cover and let stand.
- FOURTH DAY:.
- In the morning, drain syrup mixture into a large pan; add 2 cups of the sugar and 1 cup of the vinegar. Heat to boiling and pour over pickles.
- In the afternoon, prepare jars. Drain syrup mixture off pickles into large pan; add remaining 1 cup of sugar and the vanilla extract (if using) to syrup; heat to boiling. Pack pickles into clean, hot jars. cover with hot syrup leaving 1/2 inch head space; seal. Process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
These are really good, and worth the effort to make them. Definitely add the vanilla and fennel, makes all the difference in the world. I like them with a sandwich, and I usually don't like sweet pickles.
I tried this recipe with a tiny batch of homegrown cukes. I couldn't get my act together to do all the water changes, syrup changes on time. I let them sit 24 hours or even a day and a half at each step and it didn't affect the final flavor. Am trying another small batch and will try to stay closer the timing in the recipe to see if that affects the texture. I suspect it won't. These taste and have very similar texture to store bought gherkins if you use both the fennel and vanilla.
I was drawn to this recipe by the interesting combination of fennel seeds and vanilla extract in the ingredients. This recipe did not disappoint. The result is a lovely sweet crunchy pickle. Although this recipe took 4 days from start to finish, it was not as bad as that actually sounds. Many of the steps are simple, and take very little time. As an added bonus, my house was filled with a marvelous pickling smell right out of my childhood, which made me smile. I guess the most "fiddley" step was pricking all of the small cucumbers with a fork. These will get me through the winter along side a grilled cheese sandwich or next to a rustic pate. Thanks for a great recipe Jockey.