Every family has their Christmas traditions and icicle pickles are one of ours. These pickles just taste like Christmas to me. My Great Grandmother made them every year and my mother continued the tradition and it is still is being passed down through the generations.
Once you commit to them, the house fills up with the heavy smell of boiling vinegar for days. But at the end you have crunchy tart/sweet delicious Christmas pickles. It's a marathon though...
Here's the recipe exactly as given to me.
12 Quarts small cucumbers
2 ½ Quarts white vinegar (10 cups)
16 Cups white sugar
1 Tbsp celery salt
1 Tsp cassia buds
Make a brine by adding 2 ½ cups salt to 6 Qt water.
The brine should be strong enough to float an egg; if not add more salt.
Clean and quarter cucumbers and put them in the brine. (or slice thinner if cucs are larger)
Stir once a day for 4 days.
Drain off the brine.
Fill with boiling water enough to cover the cucs.
Measure the alum, in your hand, about the size of an egg.
(This is old farm people measurement technique.)
Add alum to the water.
Combine white vinegar, white sugar, celery salt, cassia buds
Bring to a boiling point to make a syrup. Pour syrup over the cucs.
Drain syrup off and bring it back to a boiling point.
Pour syrup back over the cucs again.
Sterilize your bottles, lids, seals.
Drain syrup off and put cucs in bottle.
Bring syrup back to a boiling point.
Add syrup to bottles and seal.