When I was growing up it was a ritual; summertime, cucumbers, brine and then sweet chunk pickles. That's what summer was in the Smith household. Every year my mom would get out the crock, dad would get the cukes and bring them home by the very large paper grocery sacks. Mom would then begin by washing, sorting and then be on her merry way making the sweetest and tastiest sweet chunk pickles you have ever put in your mouth. I have friend from around the world that ask for them when they come to visit so they are world renowned! *smile* They were always winners with us though, Mom.
Anyway, here is her amazing recipe. She even took the pic above for you, saying that she had canned 10 pints and 7 quarts so far this year. They will all be eaten, TRUST ME!
(Virginia's) SWEET CHUNK PICKLES
(Recipe is over 50 years old)
Takes time, but well worth it!
½ cup salt 1 stick cinnamon
¼ cup vinegar 1 ½ t. whole cloves
2 quarts water 1 ½ t. mixed pickling spices
2 dozen 3 to 4” cucumbers 3 cups vinegar
1 Tablespoon powdered alum 6 cups sugar
Wash and dry cucumbers. Put cucumbers in a stone jar or stainless steel container. Add salt and ¼ cup vinegar to 2 quarts water; bring to boil; cool. Pour over cucumbers. Cover with dinner plate or glass pie plate. Fill jar with water and use to hold plate under brine (do NOT let cucumbers float above brine). Cover and let stand 2 weeks in a cool place. **If scum forms, remove it each day**
Drain, discarding brine, rinse and cut cucumbers into 1 inch chunks. Add alum to cumbers and cover with cold water; let stand 24 hours.
Rinse well and drain. Tie spices in a cheesecloth (type) bag; add to remaining ingredients. Bring to boil, pour over cucumbers. Let stand 24 hours. Drain, reserving syrup. Heat syrup & spices to boil and pour over pickles. Let stand 24 hours. Repeat the last step three times.
Pack pickles into hot canning jars, leaving ¼ inch head space. Remove spice bag. Bring syrup to boil. Pour, boiling hot, over pickles, leaving ¼ inch head space. Adjust caps.
Process pints and quarts 10 minutes in boiling water-bath.
Yield: about 3 pints (I usually triple the recipe each time).