When Aunt Bee surprises Andy and Barney with a plate of her notoriously awful homemade pickles during lunch one day, both realize they simply can't face the future with eight quarts of her kerosene cucumbers in it. Andy gets the idea that he and Barney can substitute Aunt Bee's pickles with store bought pickles (Heinz 57 Pickles to be exact) and no one will ever know the difference. "Operation Pickle Switch" goes off without a hitch and all is well until Aunt Bee, upon tasting one of the substitute pickles, decides that she will enter her pickles in the county fair. Andy and Barney decide that even though it's not fair, no harm will be done and they decide the leave things as they are. After all, if Aunt Bee won a fixed pickle contest, it would be a right funny joke!
A day or so later Clara Johnson comes into Andy's office and offers him a jar of her own homemade pickles. The memory of Aunt Bee's homemade pickles fresh on his mind, Andy begrudgingly tastes one and discovers that Clara's pickles are flavorsome and delicious. Mrs. Johnson proceeds to show Andy her collection of 12 blue ribbons and explains how working on her homemade pickles helped ease the sorrow and loneliness after losing her husband. Andy realizes how much the contest means to Mrs. Johnson and is convinced that Aunt Bee cannot enter store bought pickles.
There is only one thing to do – Andy, Barney, and Opie have to consume every pickle before the contest. After days and days of nearly non-stop pickle eating, they accomplish their goal and leave Aunt Bee without a single pickle to enter. Andy then gives Bee the idea to make another batch before the contest. A few days later Clara Johnson wins her 12th blue ribbon but, as Aunt Bee puts it, Andy, Barney, and Opie are the real winners. Because the boys loved her pickles so much, she made a double batch, 16 quarts, so they could have some every day! As Aunt Bee and Opie leave to congratulate Clara Andy and Barney approach a jar of Aunt Bee's pickles. Andy fishes out one for Barney and one for himself and tells Barney it's time to do what they should have done in the first place – learn to love em!