Christmas Holiday Pickles
Cinnamon Pickles

Christmas Holiday Pickles

Similar to Cowboy Candy, this was another one of those recipes I kept hearing about and wasn’t sure if it was real or made up. Well, let me tell you, it is 100% real – 

Christmas Holiday Pickles are here to stay. 

Fair warning, this isn’t something that you can just throw together – this takes a grueling 5 days! Okay, 4 of the 5 days were a breeze – but Day-2 was a killer. This should translate to – plan ahead when making this – and have Day-2 line up to a free day, such as a lazy Saturday. 

A little bit of background – these, Christmas Holiday Pickles are great on their own, as a quick dessert or snack, on top of a salad, or used to make a vinaigrette. They can be as sweet as you have patience to make….the sweeter you want them, the longer they take.

As mentioned in Pickled Problems? Don’t be Soggy, these are a great solution for those cucumbers that you just can’t save – they went too long in the garden and have started to yellow.

Christmas Holiday Pickles

[Yield: (7) Quarts or (14) Pints]

Materials: (all materials can be found on The Necessities for reference)

  • 14 pints jars (plus flat lids and bands/rings)
    [Hint: As always, I recommend an extra jar or two. ]
  • 1 spoon or cookie scoop
  • 1 water bath
  • 1 funnel
  • 1 jar lifter
  • 1 stainless steel ladle
  • 1 large stainless steel pot, glass bowl, or crock that can hold at least 63 cups (minimum)
  • 1 large stainless steel sauce pan or dutch oven that can hold at least 33 cups (minimum)
  • Plastic wrap
  • 1 dish towel (large enough for the jars to cool on)

Ingredients:

  • Day-1:
    • 32 cups peeled, chopped cucumber ‘half-moons’
    • 52 g Pickle Crisp
    • 32 cups cold water
  • Day-2:
    • Ice
    • 1 cup + 3 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar (ACV)
    • 1oz red food dye (optional, but recommended)
    • Cold Water to cover + 3 1/2 cups water
    • 10 cups sugar
    • 8 cinnamon sticks
    • 1 cup red hot candies 
  • Day-3:
    • 1 cup sugar
  • Day-4:
    • 1 cup sugar

* Read about the benefits of Pickle Crisp over at ‘Pickle Problems? Don’t be Soggy

Process:

Day-1

  1. Wash cucumbers and peel. Then, cut in half length-wise.
  2. Using a spoon or cookie scoop, scoop out all seeds.
  3. Cut cucumbers into 1/2in thick ‘half-moons.’
  4. In your stainless steel pot, glass bowl, or crock that can hold at least 63 cups, combine 32 cups of water, and 52g of Pickle Crisp. Stir to combine and dissolve Pickle Crisp.
  5. Place cucumber ‘half-moons’ in Pickle Crisp mixture.
  6. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 24 hours.

Day-2

[Reminder - this is the longest day so be prepared]
  1. Drain cucumbers from liquid and wash crock.
  2. Place cucumber ‘half-moons’ back into the crock and cover with ice.
  3. Let stand in a cool place for 3 hours, adding ice as needed.
  4. After 3 hours, drain off liquid and re-rinse the crock.
  5. In your large stainless steel sauce pan or dutch oven that can hold at least 33 cups, combine cucumber half-moons, red food dye, 1 cup of apple cider vinegar (ACV), and enough cold water to cover.
  6. Boil mixture gently for 2 hours until red food dye penetrates all of the cucumbers.
  7. Drain red ACV/water mixture and return cucumber half-moons to the clean crock.
  8. In a clean sauce pan, combine remaining 3 1/2 cups of cold water, 3 1/2 cups ACV, 10 cups of sugar, 8 whole cinnamon sticks, and 1 cup of red hot candies. 
  9. Boil mixture until candies and sugar have dissolved. [This is the first step in creating the cinnamon syrup.]
  10.  Pour cinnamon syrup in with the cucumbers in the crock, cover, and let stand in a cool place for 12 hours.

Day-3

[Its all downhill from here...]
  1. Carefully drain off cinnamon syrup into a clean stainless steel or dutch oven pot.
  2. With cucumbers set aside, rinse out crock then return cucumbers to crock.
  3. Add 1 cup sugar to cinnamon syrup mixture and bring to a boil working to dissolve sugar.
  4. Once dissolved, pour mixture back into crock with the cucumbers, cover with plastic wrap and let stand for 24 hours.

Day-4

  1. Carefully drain off cinnamon syrup into a clean stainless steel or dutch oven pot.
  2. With cucumbers set aside, rinse out crock then return cucumbers to crock.
  3. Add 1 cup sugar to cinnamon syrup mixture and bring to a boil working to dissolve sugar.
  4. Once dissolved, pour mixture back into crock with the cucumbers, cover with plastic wrap and let stand for 24 hours.

If your cucumbers are not as sweet as you’d like, repeat 1 more day.

Day-5

  1. Inspect each of your jars for cracks, chips, and/or any other questionable markings before use.
  2. Place wire rack into bottom of water bath with ‘arms’ up to allow jars to be placed.
  3. Fill you water bath with enough water to cover each of the jars with 2-3″ of liquid and place on burner to warm jars (simmer but do not boil).
  4. Remove and discard cinnamon sticks.
  5. Pour ALL contents of the crock into a large stainless steel pan or dutch oven and bring to a boil. [By this time, the cinnamon mixture should be a nice thin syrup consistency.]
  6. Remove empty jars from water bath by lifting the wire rack and setting the arms on the rim of the water bath. Then, using jar lifter empty and remove the jar from the water.
  7. Using a ladle and funnel, add the cinnamon Christmas Holiday Pickles into a hot jar keeping a 1/2in head space. [Note: Head space is the distance from the top of the jar to the food filling the jar.]
  8. Wipe the rim of each jar with a damp cloth ensuring that the rims are clean.
  9. Place flat lid and screw band on jar and finger tighten.
    [Hint: Place the jar on a towel and using only your fingers, tighten the band until your jar spins on the towel.]
  10. Once finger tightened, return to warm water bath to avoid thermal shock. [Thermal shock is the cracking of jars from an extreme temperature swing such as putting hot food into a cold jar.] Lower wire rack once full.
  11. Place lid on canner, return to high heat and bring water to a full rolling boil.
  12. Once boiling, set timer for 10 minutes
    [Hint: refer to Elevation Rules to see how it changes your processing time].
  13. After 10 minutes, turn off heat and remove the lid. Wait an additional 5 minutes.
  14. Once again, lifting wire rack and placing arms on canner rim, use the jar lifter to remove your filled jars and place on a towel in a cool & draft-free location.
  15. Wait 24 hours before touching the jars. After 24 hours, remove the bands and pick up each jar from the flat lid (this will help ensure that each jar is truly sealed). Once the seal is verified, you may wash the exterior of the jars, dry, label, and store for future use.

As mentioned above, these are a great sweet treat on their own, chop and add to the top of a salad, or mix up to make a sweet vinaigrette dressing by adding in olive oil, a vinegar (such as a balsamic, or wine vinegar), mustard, and season to taste.

Credit:

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