This recipe is called Nine Day Pickles – but it actually takes 11 days (go figure) but the long curing time is worth the effort, because you end up with a melt-in-your-mouth pickle with a tangy sweet and sour bite.
The recipe is from a wonderful homemade spiral bound cookbook called “The Summer Kitchen: 40 Favourite Recipes From a Long Line of Country Picklers,” by Lorene Sinclair.
Midway through making this pickles the first time, I was surprised by the amount of sugar in the recipe. Being a homemade cookbook, I wondered if there was a mistake.
I was able to track down the author on the Internet – she assured me that the recipe was correct, that I could reduce the sugar if I wanted, but she didn’t really recommend it. “These are sweet pickles, pretty close to candy really,” she said. “Best of luck!”
I ended up sticking to Lorene’s original recipe, and they are truly fantastic pickles.
Nine Day Pickles
Wash 40-50 pickling cucumbers, approx. 2-3 inches long and no larger than 1 1/2 in diameter
Slice up the cucumbers, discarding the ends, and put them into a quart jar to measure as you go. You need four one-liter (quart) jars of sliced cucumbers for this recipe.
Put the 4 liters of sliced cucumbers in a large stainless steel, glass or earthenware crock.
Fill and empty one liter jar with water and pour it over the sliced cucumbers. Keep doing this, keeping track of the number of jars of water you’ve used, until the water covers the cucumbers. Depending on the pot you’ve used, it should be about 4 liters of water.
Drain the water from the sliced cucumbers and set aside. You are now going to make a strong brine to cover your pickles.
You need 1/2 cup of pickling salt to one litre of water, brought to a boil, to cover your cucumbers.
Cover your pickles with a a lid or tea towel and LEAVE FOR THREE DAYS. Write the day you started on a calendar so you don’t lose track, because you will forget.
Day 4: Drain off brine. Rinse. Cover with cold water.
Day 5: Drain off brine. Cover with cold water.
Day 6: Drain off brine. Cover with cold water.
Day 7: Drain off brine. Put in a large pot. Cover with 8 cups of water, 2 cups of vinegar and simmer – do not boil – for 3 hours, stirring gently.
Near the end of the cooking time, put the following ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil:
- 6 cups vinegar
- 3 cups white sugar
- 4 tablespoons celery seed ***
- 4 tablespoons cassia bugs ***
- 4 tablespoons allspice ***
- 1 small piece cinnamon stick (optional) ***
*** Tie in a spice bag
Drain the pickles, then pour the hot pickling syrup over top. Weigh down the pickles pickles in the liquid with a plate, then cover with a lid or clean tea towel.
Day 8: Drain off pickles, reserving syrup through a sieve into a pot. Add 2 cups of sugar, bring to a boil, and pour back over the pickles in the pot.
Day 9: Drain off pickles, reserving syrup through a sieve into a pot. Add 2 cups of sugar, bring to a boil, and pour back over the pickles in the pot.
Day 10: Drain off pickles, reserving syrup through a sieve into a pot. Add 2 cups of sugar, bring to a boil, and pour back over the pickles in the pot.
Day 11: Spoon the pickles into sterilized jars. Heat the pickle syrup to boiling and pour over the pickles in the jars. Wipe rims with clean cloth dipped in boiling water, and seal while hot with hot, sterilized lids.
Process for 20 minutes in a pot of hot boiling water, making sure the jars are fully submerged, with at least 2 inches of water of water above.