Combine cucumbers, pickling lime, and 8 1/2 quarts of water in a large, non-aluminium pot. Let soak for 24 hours.
Remove pickles from lime water. Rinse 3-4 times until water runs clear. Put pickles in ice water and soak 3 hours. Drain. Combine vinegar, food coloring, and alum and simmer in a large pot. Add pickles and enough water to cover. Simmer for 2 hours. Do not boil. Drain pickles and discard mixture. Combine remaining ingredients less one cup sugar and bring to a boil. Pour over pickles. Let stand 24 hours.
Drain mixture, but do not discard. Add remaining cup of sugar and bring to a boil. Pout over pickles. Let stand 24 hours.
Drain mixture, but do not discard. Bring to a boil. Pack pickles in jars. Pour mixture over pickles and seal jars.