5 quarts (about 7 pounds) 1 1/2 to 3-inch pickling cucumbers, washed and blossom ends removed
1/2 cup salt
8 cups granulated sugar
6 cups distilled white vinegar
3/4 teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoons celery seed
2 teaspoons whole pickling spice
8 (1-inch) pieces cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon fennel seed (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
In morning, place cucumbers in large bowl and cover with boiling water; let stand 6 hours.
In afternoon, drain and cover again with fresh boiling water. Let stand overnight.
In morning, drain cucumbers and cover with fresh boiling water; let stand 6 hours.
In afternoon, drain cucumbers; add salt; cover with fresh boiling water.
In morning, drain cucumbers; prick with fork. Combine 3 cup of the sugar, 3 cups of the vinegar and herbs and spices (except vanilla extract) in a pan. Heat to the boiling point and pour over cucumbers.
In afternoon, drain into a large pan; add 2 cups of the sugar and 2 cups of the vinegar. Heat to the boiling point and pour over pickles. Cover and let stand.
In morning, drain into a large pan; add 2 cups of the sugar and 1 cup of the vinegar. Heat to boiling and pour over pickles.
In afternoon, prepare jars. Drain syrup off pickles into large pan; add remaining 1 cup sugar and the vanilla extract (if desired) to syrup; heat to boiling. Pack pickles into clean, hot jars. Cover with hot syrup, leaving 1/2-inch headspace; seal. Process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
Yields 7 to 8 pints.