Nanny's 7 Day Sweet Pickles are super crispy and sweet! This easy to make, old fashioned recipe was always a favorite of mine. There is no heat required and is an excellent way to preserve summer's harvest!
These Crisp Sweet Pickles are a crunchy dark green pickle with a sweet and tangy vinegar bite. While it does take a full 7 days to make these pickles, it involves very little work. And, they are super simple to make!
🥒 PICKLING CUCUMBERS
My family has always processed their fruits and vegetables from their gardens. I remember my mom making my Aunt Bonnie’s Garlic Dill Pickle Recipe and how lovely the house smelled with all the vinegar, dill, and garlic in the air.
Mom didn’t make the Crisp Sweet Pickle recipe as my dad didn't care for sweet pickles. But, my Grandmother would make them, and I'm happy she did! I remember being at Nanny’s house when she had her pickles in process in a ceramic crock. The pickling process was always very interesting to me!
What is the best cucumber to use for making a crisp sweet pickle recipe?
The best cucumber is one grown specifically for pickling. The seed packet will indicate they are specifically for pickling. I like this brand.
How are Crisp Sweet Pickles different from Bread and Butter Pickles?
The biggest difference between these two sweet pickle recipes is the method used to pickle them. Crisp Sweet Pickles are not cooked on the stove top, whereas Bread and Butter Pickles are brought to a simmer then sealed, without the 7 day fermentation process.
Why do you soak cucumbers in water before processing your crisp sweet pickle recipe?
Soaking your cucumbers in water helps to ensure their freshness and helps to improve their texture and flavor.
Do you have to refrigerate crisp sweet pickles in the refrigerator once they have been packed in jars?
There is no need to refrigerate them once they have been jarred. You can place a jar in the refrigerator to make them cold before consumption and once opened I always store the jar in the refrigerator until that jar is emptied.
What do I do with the syrup on day 7 after packing pickles in the jars?
The syrup needs to go into the jars with the pickles, or the pickles will not be sweet. You can do this one of two ways. Drain the syrup and add it to the vinegar solution, or, add the syrup with the pickles while you are packing.
Do I need to rinse the pickles every day before adding fresh water?
No. Fermented pickles should not be rinsed.
What is the foamy stuff on top of my cucumbers, have they gone bad?
No, this is the fermentation you are seeing. This is a good thing.
Should I process these sweet crisp pickles in a hot water bath canner?
If you are doing a hot pack (as the recipe instructs) you should not have to process in a canner. However, you can do so for 15 minutes if you wish. If the pickles do not seal with hot pack, you will need to process in the canner anyway. All pickles that have not sealed should be refrigerated.
Please note that the following is a walk through instruction ONLY. Many people are emailing me following the brief instruction in this section. The recipe card is printable without ads, so please, I encourage you to go to the recipe card to print the recipe and follow those instructions. Tips and recommendations are added to the recipe card.
Day 1, wash the cucumbers, removing any dirt and debris they may have once removed from the garden. Once washed, you can trim and slice the cucumbers.
(Please refer to the recipe card for complete instructions)
You will need a gallon sized, food safe jar for fermenting the pickles. Place the cucumber slices in the jar and cover in boiling water. They will sit undisturbed for 24 hours. You can cover the pickles but they do not have to be sealed shut tight. This is mainly to protect anything from getting in the jar.
Day 2, drain the water on the cucumbers and cover them with salt and fresh boiling water.
Day 3, add the powdered alum to the cucumbers before adding the boiling water. The powdered alum is to help keep the pickles crisp and if it is skipped, your pickles will not be as crispy as they would be with it.
Day 4, drain the pickles and add the spice packet to the jar. Next, bring the cider vinegar and pour it over the cucumbers. After they are covered with vinegar, they will sit undisturbed in day 5 and day 6!
Day 7, the pickles are drained and pickling spices are removed. Reserve the pickling vinegar to cover the pickles in the jar at the end of the process.
Transfer the pickles to a large non-reactive (no metal) mixing bowl stir in the sugar. The sugar and pickle mixture will sit undisturbed for 2 hours. During this time, the sugar will dissolve and there will be a little syrup in the bowl with the pickles.
Add the pickles with some of the syrup to the sterilized jars and cover them with vinegar solution. Cover with a sterilized seal and cap. Set the hot jars on a thick towel and cover with another towel to prevent drafts. As the pickles cool down, they will make a pop noise which means it has sealed. To test to see if the jar is sealed, touch the center of the seal. If it pops in and out, it is not sealed.
If your jar does not seal, you can either store it in the refrigerator or process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes. Some may feel safer processing them for 10 minutes in a hot water bath in a canner.
💭 TOP TIPS
- Make sure the cucumbers are not too large. A cucumber that is about 5 inches long are the perfect size. A thick cucumber is not a good choice.
- Be sure the cucumbers you use to make pickles are freshly picked and avoid using supermarket produce. Many times cucumbers bought in the supermarket have had a wax coating put on them.
- Remove the flower end of the cucumber. That part of the cucumber contains an enzyme that can cause your pickles to soften.
- There is no need to rinse the cucumbers daily. These are fermented pickles. Don't worry about the fermentation you see on them.
- Always use pickling salt for making pickles. Pickling Salt does not have the anti-caking ingredient table salt has in it. And, it has fine granules that make it break down and dissolve easier.
- I highly recommend using the alum to keep the pickle slices crispy. This is why they are called sweet crisp pickles.
- Do not discard the syrup that settles to the bottom of the pickles. I make sure to pack some into the jars when packing the pickles.
- If you prefer, add the syrup from the pickles to the vinegar solution and bring it all to a boil.
- For safety sake, do not skip the sterilization of jars. Boil the washed jars and sealing lids in hot water.
- If the jars do not seal once cooled, process in a hot water bath canner for 15 minutes.
- Any unsealed jars must be stored in the refrigerator.
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Nanny's 7 Day Sweet Pickles
- 10 lbs small cucumbers
- ¼ cup salt
- 3 tbsp alum
- 6 cups apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup pickling spice
- 4 cups granulated sugar
- Day 1: Clean cucumbers and soak in ice cold water bath for 30 minutes. Drain cucumbers, trim ends, then cut into thick chunks. Pack cucumbers in a gallon sized food safe jar. Cover with boiling water. Let sit 24 hours.
- Day 2: Drain water from cucumber slices. Add salt. Pour boiling water over top of cucumbers and salt. Cover and let sit 24 hours.
- Day 3: Drain cucumbers. Add alum. Pour boiling water over cucumbers to cover. Cover and let sit 24 hours
- Day 4: Drain cucumbers. Place pickling spice in cheesecloth tied with string to form purse. Place in jar with cucumbers. Bring cider vinegar to a boil. Pour over cucumbers.
- Day 5 and Day 6: Do nothing.
- Day 7: Drain cucumbers reserving juice. Remove cheesecloth with pickling spices and discard. Place cucumbers in large mixing bowl. Pour sugar over top of cucumbers and toss to coat. Let sit at least 2 hours.
- Heat reserved cucumber juice until scalding. Pack pickles into hot sterilized jars. Pour hot cucumber juice over top of pickles. Cover and seal.