Pickle making has been a part of my life since about the time I learned to walk. I remember chasing after little toys under the kitchen table, and seeing Mom, tall and young, wearing a flowered apron and with her hair in bobby pins and a bandanna, pouring a big pot of pickle water out into the sink. It happened every year at about the same time we picked peaches from the tree growing outside the kitchen window. I also remember the kitchen filling up with the sweet-sharp smell of sugar, vinegar and spices boiling on the stove, and I most distictly remember the Thanksgiving and Christmas feasts when we could help ourselves to as many of the crunchy, sweet and spicy pickles as we ever could want. The recipe comes to me from my mother, Barbara White. She learned to make them from her mother, Blanche Burridge, who was born in 1882 in San Francisco, and who in turn learned how to make them in the last years of the 1800’s. The original recipe in Blanche’s handwriting calls for using a “lump of alum the size of a walnut”.

Pickles as reviewed by Emma Johnson, age 8: “I don’t like pickles but I LOVE these!” (she said as she helped herself to more).

8-Day Sweet Pickles

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about 20 cucumbers (medium sized)

1 quart vinegar

1/2 cup pickling spice

4 lbs. sugar

3 tsp. pickling salt

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1 Tbs. alum

Use fresh-picked cucumbers if possible.  Wash and put in large pan.  Be sure to scrub off all traces of the blossom.  Pour boiling water over them to cover. Weight down cucumbers with a plate if needed to keep them submerged.  Cover with a lid, keep at room temperature.  Repeat for three more days, draining off the old water and heating up fresh water each day.  Be sure to do this at the same time each day so the intervals are as close as possible to 24 hours.

On the 5th day slice the cucumbers.  I like to slice them thick.  Put pickling spice in a cheesecloth bag, tie up with string.  Make a syrup of vinegar, sugar, salt and the bagged pickling spice.  Boil syrup and pour over pickles each day for 4 days (use the same syrup, reheating each day).  On the last day, pack pickles into sterilized jars.  Add alum to syrup, boil, pouring boiling syrup into jars and seal.  Makes about 7 pints.

Avatar photo Jeanne Williamson (138 Posts)

Jeanne and her husband David launched My Own Labels in January of 2000. It was a spin-off of their successful graphic design firm, plus it allowed Jeanne to incorporate her love of baking, making, sewing and creating. Today David and Jeanne continue to be the heart of the operation both creatively and practically.

One comment

  1. I’m a little confused with the wording for the last half of the recipe. Is this how it is supposed to go:
    Day 1: wash-cover with boiling water
    Day 2: cover with boiling water
    Day 3: cover with boiling water
    Day 4: cover with boiling water
    Day 5: slice and cover with syrup
    Day 6: cover with boiling syrup
    Day 7: cover with boiling syrup
    Day 8: cover with boiling syrup
    Day 9:cover with boiling syrup
    Day 10: process in jars
    because it says to cover with the syrup for 4 days – why is it called 8 Day pickles then? Or for the last half should it be this:
    Day 5: slice and cover with syrup
    Day 6: cover with boiling syrup
    Day 7: cover with boiling syrup
    Day 8: process in jars

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