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Aristocratic Pickles (VRP 001)

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Aristocratic Pickles are a gourmet treat that brings an old-world charm and elegance to your pickle repertoire. This recipe takes you on a culinary journey over six days, culminating in a batch of beautifully spiced, crisp pickles. With their delicate balance of sweet and tangy flavors, enhanced by a bouquet of spices, these pickles are a testament to the art of patience and precision in preserving.

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Aristocratic Pickles

A Short History

Pickling as a method of preservation has been practiced for thousands of years, with recipes varying widely across cultures. The concept of “Aristocratic Pickles” speaks to a refined approach to this age-old technique, emphasizing the careful selection of spices and a meticulous process to achieve pickles that are both flavorful and visually appealing. This recipe is a nod to the days when pickling was not just about preservation but also about creating a gourmet product that could be served to the most discerning guests.

Tips for Making Aristocratic Pickles

  • Cucumber Preparation: Slicing the cucumbers thinly ensures they absorb the flavors more effectively. Soaking them in salt water for six days crisps the cucumbers while drawing out excess moisture.
  • Daily Stirring: Stirring the cucumbers daily during the soaking period helps to ensure even brining.
  • Use of Alum: Alum, used here in a relatively small amount, helps to crisp the cucumbers. It’s essential to boil and then drain the cucumbers after this step to remove any excess alum.
  • Spice Bag: Enclosing the cloves, allspice, and cinnamon in a spice bag allows for easy removal and prevents the spices from clouding the brine or becoming stuck to the pickles.
  • Boiling Process: The stepwise boiling process — first in alum water, then with ginger, and finally in the vinegar mixture — layers the flavors, ensuring the cucumbers are infused thoroughly with the spices.
  • Jar Sealing: Ensure the jars are sterilized before filling with the pickles and sealing. Pouring boiling vinegar liquid over the pickles in the jars helps to create a seal that preserves the pickles.

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Aristocratic Pickles Recipe Card Details

Aristocratic Pickles

This recipe card for Aristocratic Pickles shows some aging and kitchen use along with darkened edges.

We are not sure what the E in the upper left-hand corner signifies, but we are assuming it was there before and the card was recycled.

The recipe is handwritten in ballpoint ink on a lined regular-sized index card.

Front of the recipe card for Aristocratic Pickles.

Aristocratic Pickles

Back of the recipe card for Aristocratic Pickles.

Vintage Recipe Box 1 Overview

VRP001 - Wood Box

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Aristocratic Pickles Recipe

Aristocratic Pickles are more than just a condiment; they are a labor of love and a bridge to the past, offering a taste that is rich in both flavor and history. Whether served alongside a cheese platter, as part of a gourmet sandwich, or simply enjoyed on their own, these pickles bring a touch of aristocracy to any culinary setting. Embrace the process and enjoy the exquisite result of your patience and effort.

Aristocratic Pickles

Aristocratic Pickles (VRP 001)

Prep Time: 6 days
Additional Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 6 days 20 minutes


  • 1 gallon pickling cucumbers, sliced thin
  • Alum, size of egg (about 1/4 cup)
  • 2 teaspoons ginger
  • 1 tablespoon celery seed
  • 1 quart vinegar
  • 1 pint of water
  • 3 cups granulated sugar

Spice Bag

  • 1 tablespoons cloves, whole
  • 1 tablespoon allspice
  • 1 ounce stick cinnamon


  1. Let the pickling cucumbers stand in salt water for 6 days
  2. Stir each day
  3. On day 6 drain and cover with water
  4. Boil in alum for 10 minutes
  5. Drain again
  6. Cover with water
  7. Add the ginger and boil for 10 minutes
  8. Drain again
  9. Boil in the remaining ingredients until transparent
  10. Remove the spice bag
  11. Place the pickling cucumbers in jars
  12. Bring vinegar liquid to a boil
  13. Pour over pickles and seal

Aristocratic Pickles

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Thursday 8th of September 2022

This is my mothers favorite recipe for sweet pickles. These are great tasting, sweet pickles with a bite of ginger. The brine for soaking the cucumbers is strong enough to float an egg, a common way to tell if it has enough salt. I make them about every other year because we don't use them faster. It makes about 7 pint jars. Her version called for 2 tablespoons of alum and then 2 tablespoons of ginger. The sugar should be 3 pounds not 3 cups. Twice as much.

Cheryl Gallion

Saturday 30th of May 2020

INteresting take on the recipe. My mom made 'ristocrat pickles my whole life, I've made them too. After you try my mom's recipe you'll throw rocks at bread and butter pickles :)

Here's my recipe, you're welcome to use it. NGREDIENTS 3/4 ts Tumeric 1 1/2 qt Onion, sliced thin cover Let set for 1 hour, drain 3 qt Cucumber, sliced thin 1 1/2 ts Celery seed 1 1/2 ts Ginger, ground W/ salted water 1 1/2 tb Mustard seed 1/2 ts Black pepper 1/4 c Salt for ea qt. of water 3 c Sugar 3 c White vinegar 4 Servings INSTRUCTIONS Boil ingredients 6 thru 12, add Cucumbers,and onion. Boil 10 min put in jars and seal. Hot Pack Posted to MC-Recipe Digest V1 #143 Date: Mon, 08 Jul 1996 23:19:39 +0000 From: Cheryl Gallion Gimenez Serving Size: 1 Preparation Time: 0:00 Categories: Canning Pickles Amount Measure Ingredient Preparation (I'm really happy that Big Oven rescued some of my favorite recipes I'd posted on the Mastercook Recipe Digest)

MJ Snider

Thursday 12th of September 2019

I don't think that when the recipe says 'size of an egg' it means to use that much alum. I have a similar vintage recipe & it says to use enough to 'float an egg'. I think someone needs to interview someone who actually knows what these terms mean, in order to make the recipe appropriately. It would also help if we knew someone who could tell us what its supposed to taste like.

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