Midget Sweet Pickles: Pure Paradise in a Pickle
Making sweet midget pickles
Why would anyone collect 1-3 inch size cucumbers when the normal slicing cucumber size is more like 8-10 inches? Would I ever get enough to make a turn of sweet midgets?
I first made these two years ago pondering whether they would turn out. Would anyone like them? Were they worth the effort?
They are very sweet and oh so worth the effort. They soak up so much sugar that they become like little sweet candies with a pucker punch.
This is the perfect year for making them again: rain has been frequent and plentiful enough that yards, trees, and roadsides are to me, much greener than normal, especially for August here in the Shenandoah Valley.
My garden is just robust, and what started out to be six simple hills of cucumbers ended up being 10 when most of the starts that I bought had at least 2 plants per divider, and since some of my hills ALWAYS die off for unexplained reasons, I went ahead and plotted out a cucumber patch with 10 hills.
I am drowning in cucumbers, especially after being away for a week. So it is no great loss to rob the patch of every little cuke I can catch and save in the 1-3 inch stage. And they do save up well. I just put them in a closed plastic bag in the fridge for 5-6 days as the stash mounts up.
And what I discovered when I made them two years ago? They are so sweet they are like candy in a pickle, good enough to hoard, which is what I heard one recipient of one my jars did two years ago when I gave it as a hostess gift at a Christmas party we attended. “Richard hid the jar so no one else would eat them,” Janet told me.
Loving that story, for sure.
But you are either a fan, or you are not, so here’s the recipe and the method. This year I discovered I didn’t exactly have a container of “mixed pickling spice” in my cupboard like I thought so I also found a recipe (below, bottom) for making your own mixed pickle spice in a pinch.
In following the daily steps for the recipe below, it is helpful to write down what day of the week you start on so you can see at a glance where you are at. Unless you are really good with things like that. (The days all start to fuzz together for me.)
Sweet Midget Pickles
3.5 lbs. cukes, 1.5-2 inches long (I sneak in some 3 inchers too)
¼ cup pickling salt
4 cups sugar
3 cups vinegar
½ teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon mixed pickling spice
First Day. Place cukes in glass or stainless steel bowl or pan, cover with boiling water in morning. In afternoon, drain and re-cover with boiling water.
Second day. In morning, drain and cover with boiling water. In the afternoon, drain and cover with brine formed by adding salt to 3 qts. boiling water.
Third day. In the morning, drain, rinse and prick cukes.
I use an old fashioned 3 tined fork to prick the cucumbers with one tine. Toothpick works too.
Make syrup using 1.5 cups sugar, 1.5 cups vinegar, and all spices. Bring to boil and pour over cukes. In the afternoon, drain syrup into pan. Add 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup vinegar. Heat to boiling and pour over cukes.
Fourth day. In the morning, drain syrup into pan; add 1 cup sugar and ½ cup vinegar. Heat to boiling and pour over pickles. In the afternoon, drain into pan and add remaining sugar. Heat to boiling. Pour over pickles packed in jars. Leave ¼ inch headspace. Add ½ stick cinnamon to each jar. Process 10 minutes in boiling water. Makes 6-7 pints.
If you need a recipe for pickling spices, here’s one adapted from from Taste of Home:
Homemade Pickle Spice Mix
2 tablespoons whole mustard
1 Tablespoon whole allspice
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 bay leaves crumbled
2 cinnamon sticks broken in half
6 whole cloves
Do you have another recipe for sweet midget pickles? What’s a favorite pickle for your family?
There are two pickle recipes in my book, Whatever Happened to Dinner, one for cucumber relish, and one for super easy microwave pickle. (Can anyone tell what’s different on the cover below for this book from the original? It was revamped slightly for print on demand status?)
Or, if you’re up for a real hunt, can anyone find the photo bomb of someone stealing a quick pucker punch in a park in this post? And yes, I’m sowing my “P’s” heavily today.)