I found this recipe on the ‘net a while back while I was looking for pickle recipes. During the summer, I had lemon cucumbers coming out my ears. And Uncle Pasto’s ears. And anyone who stepped in the house’s ears. For future reference: you only need one lemon cucumber plant for a family of two. No more than one. Trust me. (; We meant to only buy one, but we somehow managed to get two …
Anyway! So I made these pickles in the summertime, and hadn’t had an excuse to open them yet, because we were eating dill pickles that I made out of the same cucumbers. Since my cousins were throwing a Christmas party, I decided to pop open a jar and bring them. They went over so well that everyone asked for the recipe! ^_^; I am so flattered!
Here is the recipe, with my notes. Unfortunately, I no longer have a link to the original, but as I recall, it was a recipe that someone found in a French magazine.
French Vanilla Pickles
This recipe makes a lot of brine. I put up three quarts and could easily have put up double that amount with the amount of brine it makes. I had two full quart jars of brine left over when I was done. You may wish to cut it in half when you make it, depending on how many cucumbers you have. I am sure this would work fine with any type of pickling cucumber, if you don’t have access to lemon cucumbers.
- lemon cucumbers, well scrubbed and cut in quarters
- 9 c. sugar
- 2 quarts white vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. kosher salt or pickling salt (pickling salt is a specialty salt that is designed to dissolve quickly and easily, leaving your pickle brine sparkling clear. It’s not necessary to use, but it is a nice luxury.)
- 1 Tbsp. whole cloves and 1 Tbsp pickling spice, tied in a spice bag
- 1/4 c. lemon juice (because you are using so much vinegar, the acidity of the lemons should not be a factor. Fresh-squeezed juice should be fine.)
- 1/4 c. vanilla (I use Penzey’s double-strength vanilla extract)
- cinnamon sticks
- 3/4 tsp. pickle crisp per pint, or 1 1/2 tsp. per quart, or a couple of fresh grape leaves per jar (fresh grape leaves will not keep the pickles quite as crisp as pickle crisp, but they do help, and I have some growing over the fence in my backyard, so they’re easy for me to get)
Wash and slice the cucumbers. Combine the salt, vinegar, sugar, vanilla, and lemon juice in a large saucepot, mix well, and heat to dissolve the salt and sugar. Add the spice bag and boil five minutes.
Prepare a hot water bath and canning jars and lids. Bring the jars to a boil for 5 minutes to sterilize them before packing them.
If you are making pints: add 1/2 a cinnamon stick and 3/4 tsp. pickle crisp or a few grape leaves to each jar. If you are making quarts, add a whole cinnamon stick and 1 1/2 tsp. pickle crisp or a few grape leaves to each jar. Pack the sliced cucumbers tightly into the jars. Ladle vinegar mixture into each jar within 1/2″ of the top. The cucumbers will try to float. It’s kind of annoying, but doesn’t seem to actually be a problem in terms of the canning. Just don’t over-fill the jars. Release any trapped air bubbles, and add lids and rings, tightening to fingertip-tight.
Process pints for 5 minutes and quarts for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath, following the usual canning method.
The recipe didn’t say how long to let the pickles mature before eating. I generally think a month is a good length of time. Make sure you note on your jar labels when you packed them, and when they’ll be ready.
Enjoy! These are sweet and flavorful — a great snacking pickle. (: