We make cinnamon pickles from the garden cucumbers we let grow too big and turn yellow. You can also make them with the regular green kind.
Every year at Thanksgiving and Christmas, my Grandma Viola would trot out these jars of cinnamon pickles. They were red, sweet, and sour at the same time and spicy. They had a great crunch and went well with both turkey and ham. I asked her once what kind of apples, and she just laughed. And told me they weren’t apples…
They were made from cucumbers! And not just any cucumbers, but the old yellow ones that aren’t good for salad anymore. The next summer, Grandma showed me how to make these wonderful pickles. She said to find the biggest, most yellow cucumbers that I could find. This is a great use for those cucumbers we let get too big in the garden!
Cinnamon Pickles Recipe
- 8 pounds cucumbers (or however many you have)
- 1 cup pickling lime
- a gallon of water (well water is best)
- 1 gallon pomegranate juice
- 1/2 cup white vinegar
- a few grape leaves
- 1 cup simple syrup infused with cinnamon and a bit of fresh ginger
- 1/2 Tablespoon pickling salt (or Himalayan Pink Salt)
- 1-1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1-1/4 cup water
- 4 cups sugar (I used ¼ cup stevia powder and 1½ cup raw sugar)
- 3 sticks cinnamon
Prepping and Soaking the Cinnamon Pickles
Peel them and slice the cucumbers into ½+ inch rings. Not too thin, she’d say. You need a nice amount to bite into! Next, remove the seeds.
Now soak the cucumbers in the pickling lime dissolved in water for 12 hours. This is what helps to make a nice crunch.
Strain, rinse, and soak in a fresh batch of water for a half-hour or so. Rinse again. Now rinse a third time to be sure you get all the lime off. If the lime isn’t rinsed off it can neutralize the vinegar causing an improper pH for longterm storage.
Next, soak them in the pomegranate juice, the first amount of vinegar, and the grape leaves. They don’t need to be colored, but they may end up gray looking after all the pickling. There are no amounts of water given for the soaking as it’s just whatever it takes to submerge them. Let the cucumbers set in the colored water for a few hours, just enough to turn the color you want. Drain.
Finishing and Canning the Cinnamon Pickles
In a saucepan, mix the rest of the ingredients. Bring to a simmer until all the sugar is dissolved.
Pour over the cucumbers and let sit for 24 hours. This will give them the flavor that they need.
After 24 hours, drain the liquid and bring it to a boil again.
Place your cucumbers in jars and then pour the hot liquid over them. Leave 1/2 inch of open headroom at the top and hand tighten the jars.
Process the jars in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.
Turn off heat, let cool, and then set on a towel until completely cool. Once cool, check the tops to see if the seal took. Store the pickles in the refrigerator and use these first.
Making Crispy Cinnamon Pickles
The dual-process with the syrup lends to the crispness of the pickles. If you just pour the hot liquid over the pickles in the jar without the first soak, they can get soft. I like mine crunchy, so this process works well.
If you use a sugar substitute, at least half of it needs to be real sugar. The pickles don’t last long in the jar without a preservative and sugar is your best bet here. I’ve never used a full sugar substitute batch, so if you try it, tell us how it went in the comments!
Do you have a unique recipe family like these cinnamon pickles? Tell us about it!
- Pickling Lime. Cook’s Info. June 2018.