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The Best Pickles on the Planet (or at least in my little world)

It was a very strange experience. The event was planned for Sunday morning after church. The Girl’s Ministry Class that I teach was learning about money management by hosting a Soup and Sandwich dinner to earn money for their end of the year trip. For weeks, they’d been selling tickets, baking and freezing cookies and counting the money after each service to see how their totals were coming. As their leader, I was busy making gallons and gallons of chicken corn noodle soup and over 20 pounds of hamburger for Sloppy Joes from Scratch. It was a big job!

Then the night before the event I began to question whether we were serving enough food with our soup and sandwiches. Trying to maximize our profits, we decided against adding things like potato chips to our menu. Still, I felt like something was missing, so I went to the basement where I store my canned goods and brought up a few jars of Sweet Icicle Pickles. The next day, we set the pickles out for the people to enjoy.

That’s when things became a little odd. Although people were complimenting the homemade soup and sandwiches, they were RAVING about the pickles. At the end of the meal, when we offered to sell the leftover soup by the quart, what people really wanted to buy was the pickles. They even started a sign-up sheet for me to bring more pickles in the next week for them to purchase. Obviously, these were some amazing pickles!

In addition to purchasing the pickles, people also asked for the recipe. Actually, I get this request whenever I take these pickles to any gathering.

Are they hard to make? Not really. In fact, they are one of the simpler things to jar because there’s no process cooking. All that is required is a small amount of time each day for 9 days to make the most popular pickles I’ve ever tried. I won’t keep you in suspense any longer. Here’s the recipe:

9-Day Sweet Icicle Pickles

Day 1.

1. You will need ½ bushel of cucumbers. I prefer small cucumbers. They have less seeds.

2. Wash the cucumbers and cut lengthwise into strips.

3. Place in a big pot (I use a stock pot) and pour boiling water over the pickles. You must add enough boiling water to completely cover the pickles.

4. Put a lid on the pot.

Day 2, 3, and 4

1. Drain the water out of the pot.

2. Pour fresh, boiling water over the pickles. Again, make sure to add enough water to cover the pickles.

(I like to put the water on to boil while I am getting ready in the morning and then pour the fresh water over the pickles before I start my day. It is best to change the water at the same time every day.)

3. Put the lid back on the pot.

Day 5

1. Drain water from the pickles.

2. Boil the water like every other day, but add 1 teaspoon of ALUM to the water before pouring the water over the cucumbers.

3. Again, cover the pot.

Day 6

1. Drain water from the pickles.

2. Instead of covering the pickles with boiling water, today you will make pickle juice and cover the pickles with it.

The recipe for pickle juice is: 4 cups of vinegar

8 cups of sugar

2 scant Tablespoons of salt

2 Tablespoons of pickling spices

3. Cook the juice until the sugar is dissolved and it is boiling. Then pour the juice over your pickles. If this juice doesn’t cover all of your pickles, make another batch. However, this juice recipe is for a double batch and it should cover your pickles. It’s just hard to be exactly sure how many pickles each person will get in a ½ bushel. The key is that the pickles must be covered in juice.

4. After you pour the juice over the pickles, cover with a lid.

Day 7 & 8

1. Drain the juice from the pickles into another stock pot. Do not pour the juice down the sink like water.

2. Reheat the pickle juice until it boils.

3. Pour the juice back over the pickles.

4. Cover the pickles with a lid.

Day 9–The big day

1. Again, drain the juice from the pickles into a stockpot.

2. Reheat the juice until it is boiling.

3. Put the pickles into clean, sterile pint jars.

You can buy jars at most grocery stores. I like to use Ball or Kerr jars. They seem to be the strongest, and have the least flaws. To clean jars, I wash them in hot soapy water then I rinse them. Finally, I bake them in the oven at 170 degrees for 10 minutes. This makes them sterile.

4. Place the pickles in the jars standing straight up. Keep the jars full, but don’t overstuff them. If it seems full to you, it is full.

5. With a ladle, pour boiling juice into the jars of pickles. Put in lots of juice. Fill the juice until it is at the half-way mark of the lid of the jar.

6. Put the lid on the jar and seal immediately. Tighten the jar lid as much as you can.

7. When the jars are cool, put them in a cool place to keep for the winter. I have shelves set up for all our canned foods in our basement.

Congratulations! You have just canned your first batch of pickles!

Now enjoy eating them and sharing them with others. I’m pretty sure I’m going to back an extra big batch this year---after all, all of my pickle-loving “customers” cleaned out my supply. Since my family loves them and they are always an easy “take-along” to a cook-out or bbq, I like to have plenty on hand. Who knows, I might even sell a few jars to my friends who seem to like them so much! The possibilities are endless for this life of the party pickle!

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