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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Cinnamon Red Hot Pickles

Cinnamon Red Hot Pickles
Don't let the name fool you.  These pickles won't burn your mouth up.  They are made from Cinnamon Red Hot Candy.  Those not familiar with the recipe can't believe they are made from cucumbers.  They taste a bit like candied apples.  I think it throws people off because you use big cucumbers - the ones that get so big "they ain't fittin' to eat."

Have your week mapped out before obtaining the cucumbers because it takes 3 days to make these pickles.  It is a lot of work, but well worth it. My chickens are more than happy to clean up the peelings and the seeds.  A good vegetable peeler is a must.

You will need:
Day 1
7 lbs large (huge, really) cucumbers
1 cup of pickling lime

Day 2
2 teaspoons of red food coloring (I omit this, just because)
1 teaspoon powdered alum
1 cup distilled white vinegar

10 cups white sugar (about 5 lbs)
2 cups distilled white vinegar
2 cups water
6 ounces cinnamon red hot candies (about a cup)
4 cinnamon sticks or 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (the cinnamon sticks provide a prettier presentation, but I use the ground cinnamon because it is less expensive and I have it on hand)

Day 3
About 9 or 10 pint jars, lids, and rings
Canning funnel 
Water Bath Canner
Jar lifter
Towel(s) to cools jars on

Day 1: 
Wash and peel cucumbers.  

Now you have a few options.  Do you want sticks, dices, rings, or half rings? I go for sticks (maybe because I'm lazy and it is easier).

For sticks - Cut the cucumbers lengthwise and remove all the seeds with a spoon, melon baller, or whatever gadget you find works best for you.  Then cut into sticks about all the same size.  For dices, cut into really small sticks :-)

For half rings - Cut lengthwise and remove the seeds and cut into 1/4" half rings (This is pretty easy, but I always go for the sticks because I like to eat them in sticks)

For rings - (I did this once.  It was a lot of work.) Cut the ends off the cucumbers, then cut in quarters and remove the seeds from each section with a spoon or other gadget you find works.  You may use an apple corer to accomplish this.  When all  the seeds are removed from the section, slice into 1/4" rings. (After about 3 lbs, you are probably wishing you had gone with sticks).

Now that you have decided how to cut your cucumbers and you have them all nice and sliced into the shape of your choice, we will continue...

Place the cucumbers into a glass or enamel pot.  Dissolve the pickling lime in about 1 quart of room temperature water and pour over the sliced cucumbers.  Add additional water until it covers the cucumbers by 1/2".  Cover and let them stand 24 hours.

Day 2:
Drain the cucumbers and rinse well with cold water.  Place into a large stockpot (I use enamel) and cover with ice water.  Let stand for 3 hours.  Drain and rinse again.

Return the cucumbers to the pot, add alum, vinegar, and enough water to cover the cucumbers by 1/2", add food coloring if you desire.  Bring to a boil over high heat then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 3 hours.  Allow to cool a bit and drain.

Stir together sugar, 2 cups vinegar, 2 cups water, cinnamon red hot candies, and cinnamon sticks (or ground cinnamon) in a saucepan over medium heat until the sugar and candies dissolve.  Pour this mixture over the cucumbers and allow to stand overnight.

Day 3:
If using cinnamon sticks, you can discard them or place a piece into each jar.  If putting them into the jars, it will cause the liquid and pickles to darken over time.  (I use ground cinnamon so it just floats to the bottom of the jars).  Pack pickles into jars, then fill with liquid leaving 1/2" head space.  Wipe rim of jar and place lid and attach rings securely.  Process in water bath for 45 minutes.  Remove from water bath and place on folded kitchen towels.  Allow to cool completely.  Remove rings.  Check for seal by lifting gently on the edge of the lid.  If you have a jar that doesn't seal, just refrigerate it for immediate use. 

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