Peel, then de-seed the cucumbers. Using a small spoon, scoop out
the seeds and discard. If necessary, cut the cucumber in half so
you can reach and readily remove all the seeds. Slice the hollowed-out
cucumbers into about 1/2-inch wide rings. Soak the cucumber rings
in the pickling lime and water for at least 24 hours. Make sure
to use a nonporous, ceramic stock pot or a 1-gallon glass jar, as
the liquid will pit non-coated aluminum stockpots.
Discard the pickling lime and water mixture and soak the cucumber
rings in ice water for about 3 hours.
In a small bowl, mix 1 cup of the vinegar with food coloring and
alum, and add some water. Pour this mixture over the top of the
cucumbers and add more water to cover. Set on the range over medium-high
heat and bring to a simmer, then reduce heat and continue to simmer
for about 2 hours. Pour off the liquid when cool enough to handle
easily, then discard.
Meanwhile, in a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the remaining
2 cups vinegar, 2 cups water, sugar, cinnamon sticks and red hot
candies. Bring the mixture to a hard, rolling boil for about 1 minute,
making sure to stir constantly. Pour the mixture over the cooked
cucumbers and let stand for 24 hours.
Pour off the liquid, but reserve and reheat it in a saucepan over
medium-high heat. Bring the liquid to the boil again. Place cucumber
rings in 6 to 8 sterilized pint jars and pour the hot pickling liquid
over the top of the cucumbers. Make sure to use self-sealing lids
that have also been sterilized with the rings. Leave on the counter
overnight to seal, then store in a dry, dark pantry.