How do I? ...Cucumber Pickles

Preparing and Canning Pickled Vegetables

Quick Sweet Pickles

May be canned as either strips or slices.

  • 8 lbs of 3- to 4-inch pickling cucumbers
  • 1/3 cup canning or pickling salt
  • 4-1/2 cups sugar
  • 3-1/2 cups vinegar (5 percent)
  • 2 tsp celery seed
  • 1 tbsp whole allspice
  • 2 tbsp mustard seed
  • 1 cup pickling lime (optional- for use in variation below for making firmer pickles)

Yield: About 7 to 9 pints

Please read Using Boiling Water Canners before beginning. If this is your first time canning, it is recommended that you read Principles of Home Canning.

Procedure: Wash cucumbers. Cut 1/16-inch off blossom end and discard, but leave 1/4 inch of stem attached. Slice or cut in strips, if desired. Place in bowl and sprinkle with 1/3 cup salt. Cover with 2 inches of crushed or cubed ice. Refrigerate 3 to 4 hours. Add more ice as needed. Drain well.

Combine sugar, vinegar, celery seed, allspice, and mustard seed in 6-quart kettle. Heat to boiling.

Hot pack--Add cucumbers and heat slowly until vinegar solution returns to boil. Stir occasionally to make sure mixture heats evenly. Fill sterile jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. For more information see "Sterilization of Empty Jars".

Raw pack--Fill jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Add hot pickling syrup, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Adjust lids and process according to the recommendations in Table 1 or use the low temperature pasteurization treatment. For more information see "Low-Temperature Pasteurization Treatment,".

Variation for firmer pickles: Wash cucumbers. Cut 1/16-inch off blossom end and discard, but leave 1/4-inch of stem attached. Slice or strip cucumbers. Mix 1 cup pickling lime and 1/2 cup salt to 1 gallon water in a 2- to 3-gallon crock or enamel-ware container. Caution: Avoid inhaling lime dust while mixing the lime-water solution. Soak cucumber slices or strips in lime water solution for 12 to 24 hours, stirring occasionally. Remove from lime solution and rinse and resoak 1 hour in fresh cold water. Repeat the rinsing and resoaking two more times. Handle carefully because slices or strips will be brittle. Drain well.

Storage: After processing and cooling, jars should be stored 4 to 5 weeks to develop ideal flavor.

Variation: Add 2 slices of raw whole onion to each jar before filling with cucumbers.

Table 1. Recommended process time for Quick Sweet Pickles in a boiling-water canner.
  Process Time at Altitudes of
Style of Pack Jar Size 0 - 1,000 ft 1,001 - 6,000 ft Above 6,000 ft
Hot Pints or Quarts 5 min 10 15
Raw Pints 10 15 20
Quarts 15 20 25

This document was adapted from the "Complete Guide to Home Canning," Agriculture Information Bulletin No. 539, USDA, revised 2009.

Reviewed November 2009.

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