A few years ago I was "shooting the breeze" with my neighbor about our gardening adventures that year. She mentioned that while away on vacation her cucumbers became overgrown and she had to sadly throw them to the birds. Upon hearing this I cried inside...o.k. not really... but I don't like hearing about perfectly good food going to waste, especially if it can be used to make something fantastically delicious! I then shared this family recipe with her to make good use of those monster cucumbers. I've decided to also share it here on instructables in hopes to save countless cucumbers from a bird pecked death!
Candied Cinnamon Pickles involve a several day process, but they are worth the wait. They are a sweet & sour taste combination, with a little bit of heat. They taste very similar to a candied apple, and as a child I ate these like candy. I've also heard them be called Christmas Pickles because they are a lovely red color & make perfect Christmas gifts. So don't throw those whoppers out, gift them away!
Step 1: Gather Supplies
This was a recipe I was "playing close to the vest" because it's been handed down for many generations in our family but through recent research I see there are others who make the same or similar thing so I don't feel as guilty sharing it.(The cat is already out of the bag) To make these pickles you will need:
*2 gallons of overgrown cucumbers (about 8-10 large ones)
1 cup pickling lime (NOT PICKLING SALT)
1 tsp. Alum
2 cups vinegar NOTE:It has since been discovered that mixing the lime & vinegar can be a food safety issue. Like I said, this is an OLD recipe. So you can just replace the vinegar with water if you wish. In generations of making these we have never had any problems with it of course, but just thought I'd give the disclosure.
Candy Syrup :
2 cups vinegar
2 cups water
10 cups sugar
16 oz. red hots (I've used anywhere from 14 oz - 20 oz)
8 sticks of cinnamon
OPTIONAL: Red food coloring
5 gallon food storage bucket for pickling them in (If you are concerned about using the plastic use glass containers. Again, this is just our OLD SCHOOL method)
Jars, lids, & bands for canning (about a 8 pints)
Water bath canner