This recipe has a story behind it. For several years my husband has been talking about his mother’s Christmas pickles. He is in his late 50’s and said that as long as he could remember, there were Christmas Pickles in the house. His brother has told me that he remembered helping his mother make them. She only made them for Christmas and the holidays and they were famous. Momma Manie gave them away for presents and I’ve been told that people called to see if they were on the list to get them. Everyone loved them. My husband emailed his brother to see if anyone in the family had the recipe. Friends and family searched personal cookbooks, church cookbooks and written notes. No recipe could be found. My husband’s brother found one recipe online that was very close. A family friend had a recipe that was similar. This week the Red Dirt Cooking Test Kitchen went to work. I canned 2 batches today and when my husband tried them, he declared that they were pretty close. I have never had these type of pickles but they really taste like Fall and the holidays. They have this wonderful sweet, sour, cinnamon taste. MMM!! They do take several days to make, so plan ahead to be sure you have the time. I hope that the photo and the recipe brings back some great family memories.
- 15 large, yellow Pickling Cucumbers, peeled, cored and cut into 3/8 inch thick rings (You can see the some of my pickling cucumber harvest on my “Around the ranch” page. I’ll be doing another batch soon.)
- 10 quarts Water
- 2 cups Pickling Lime
I used a potato peeler to peel the cucumbers and an apple corer to make the center hole and get the seeds out. Don’t make the center hole too large or the slices may break apart during processing. For this first step you need use either one very large glass bowl, ceramic bowl or a plastic storage container. DO NOT use a metal container for this soaking step because the lime will react with the metal and you will lose all of the cucumber rings. I had to divide the cucumbers, water and lime into 2 large bowls.
Place the slices, water and lime into the non-metal containers and allow to soak overnight. Stir occasionally to keep the lime water mixed up and around the slices.
The next day drain and wash slices. Soak in ice water for 3 hours. For this step I used a large ice cooler in the corner of our kitchen. After 3 hours, drain and rinse. Proceed to the next step.
- 2 cups Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 bottle Red Food Coloring
- 1 bottle Green Food Coloring
- 2 tablespoons Alum
I divided the slices in half and put into 2 separate large soup pots. Into each pot, I put 2 cups vinegar and 2 tablespoons alum. I put the red food coloring in one pot and the green coloring in the other. This is where the Christmas comes in. Bring to a boil and simmer for 2 hours. Drain and rinse. Keep the 2 colors separate. Set both aside.
- 4 cups Apple Cider Vinegar
- 4 cups Water
- 7 cups Sugar
- 8 Whole Cinnamon Sticks
In 2 separate soup pots put 4 cups vinegar, 4 cups water, 7 cups sugar and 8 cinnamon sticks. Bring both pots to boil. Add the red rings to one pot and the green rings to the other pot. Bring to a boil again and simmer while you are preparing the pint canning jars and lids.
Sterilize the canning jars in boiling water. Fill each jar with just one color of rings and cover with the syrup. Discard the cinnamon sticks. Leave 1/2 inch head space, wipe the rims clean with a wet paper towel. Place the lid on the jar and adjust. Place the ring on the jar and tightened just finger tip tight. Process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes. I am at 980 feet above sea-level. Check your local extension service to see if you need to adjust your processing time due to your altitude. If you are a first time or novice canner, please review the water bath techniques in any good canning book. This makes about 10 pints.
It would have been easier to process one color at a time but I really wanted to do both. I’m very pleased with the final product.