So speaking of the Bay (aka one of my favorite places ever), when we were young, a local lady used to make country sweet pickles and sell them. They were delicious and knowing the process it takes, I should have been more willing to shell out whatever she was charging for said pickles. But I am frugal to a fault and missed many opportunities and now, the pickles are not available anymore. So, what else was I to do but find a recipe of my own. So years and years and years ago (think like 7-9 years ago), I came up with the idea to make my own. At the time, Pop (my grandpa) was still gardening and was always bringing in lots and lots of cucumbers, so it seemed fitting to try then while cucumbers were in excess. Well something happened. My Uncle Jerry feel in love with them! Then Pop passed away and to be able to make pickles, I had to BUY cucumbers. Which honestly does not seem too bad, but let me tell you, that can add up when you are talking jars and jars of pickles.
Well guess what? Gloria and Jerry have perfected the art of cucumber-growing, so this year I decided to try my hand at pickles again and decided to document it for any of yall that wanted to give it a try yourselves!
A few warnings:
* This is an 8-9 day process, so be prepared going into that! Make sure you plan trips around pickle-making.
* You can use any container you want, but I love the big white bucket you can find in the paint section of a local hardware store, or your local wal-mart. It costs all of $4-$5 and is perfect to rest in your sink while you are working on these (and works particular good if you have a double-sided sink)
* These pickles are basically covered in a sugar coating, so though they are delicious, I would not really consider them 'healthy.' Though I am not sure any pickle is healthy, but these are definitely more calorie-filled than dill pickles.
* If you are a lady, apparently there is a rule that you should not pickle during that time of the month. I cannot get solid evidence if this is true or not, but being that it takes 8 days to see if the pickles work or not, I have never chanced it, so proceed at your own risk. Interesting article here to support these claims.
* When the recipe says to drain off liquid, that means just drain liquid, no washing/rinsing.
* Note: the recipe actually calls for "pickling" cucumbers--which are generally smaller and less seedy. I always just use regular cucumbers and it seems to work out fine.
Alrighty, let's get started...
Step 1: Gather supplies: big bucket, apple cider vinegar (in bulk), Sugar, cucumbers (lots of them), cheese cloth, Alum, pickling spices, pickling salt and lots of mason jars (with new lids)
Step 2: Wash & Slice Cucumbers. If you have a mandolin slicer, you should totally use it for the slicing step. Mine is only for fine slices so I did all my slices with a knife to get them about 1/8-1/4 inch thick.
Step 3: Bring a bunch of water (2-3 gallons) to a boil. You want enough water to completely cover the pickles. For the amount of cucumbers I had, it was about 2-3 gallons of water.
Step 4/ Day 1: Cover cucumbers with boiling water and let sit over night. Note: I used a heavy plate to push the cucumbers down so there were not floating in the water, this is optional but I find it helps! Also do not use a lid on the bucket, or else you will end up cooking the cucumbers, you do not want them cooked, you just want them scalded!
Step 5/ Day 2: Drain off water and boiling more water with pickling salt (1 gallon of water + 1.5 cups of pickling salt), so you may need to double or triple depending on the number of pickles you are doing.
Step 7/ Day 3: Drain off water and boiling more water with alum (1 gallon of water + 2.5 tablespoons of alum), so you may need to double or triple depending on the number of pickles you are doing.
Step 9/ Day 5, 6 and 7: Let pickles sit and marinate in vinegar/pickling spice mixture.
Step 10/ Day 8: Drain off cider vinegar and dispose of cheese cloth with pickling spices. Then comes the fun part. You are basically going to cover each pickle in sugar, much like if you were breading chicken to fry. So get your sugar ready, I like to put it in an open plate with slight edges. Then get your jars ready, they should be clean and dry.
Step 12: After a day or more in the jars, your pickles will be in a full jar of liquid and there should not be sugar floating around at all.
Step 13: Refrigerate and enjoy at your leisure!