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!
Cucumbers, the best cucumber is one grown specifically for pickling. The seed packet will indicate they are specifically for pickling. I like this brand.
Pickling Salt, this is a specific kind of salt used to make pickles. I buy this brand.
Pickling Spices, this is a blend of spices that is wrapped in a cheesecloth and added to the pickles with the vinegar (on day 4). You can buy them here.
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. Pickle Crisp can also be used in place of the Alum.
Apple Cider Vinegar
I highly recommend a pickling crock (Ceramic like this one). I recently bought one because it is what my Nanny used and I am loving it. It comes in 1, 3, and 5 gallon sizes. I bought the 3 gallon crock and recommend this due to several comments that the gallon was not big enough for some readers.
Hot Water Bath Canner, if you plan to process. I also use this to sterilize the jars and lids.
A sharp knife and cutting board for slicing the cucumbers.
Canning jars and lids. I recommend these small mouth 16 ounce jars, especially if doing a hot pack only.
Clean cotton dish towels and paper towels.
Canning tools(funnel, gripper, spatula, etc.)
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.
- Wash the cucumbers, removing any dirt and debris they may have once removed from the garden. Once washed, trim and slice the cucumbers.
- Use gallon sized (or larger if needed), food safe jar for fermenting the pickles.
- Place the cucumber slices in the jar and cover in boiling water and let sit undisturbed for 24 hours. The jar can be covered but does not have to be sealed. This is mainly to protect anything from getting in the jar.
- Drain the water on the cucumbers and cover them with salt and fresh boiling water.
- Add the powdered alum to the cucumbers before adding the boiling water.
- Drain the pickles and add the pickling spice packet to the jar.
- Bring the cider vinegar to a boil and pour it over the cucumbers.
Day 5 and Day 6: Do nothing
- Drain the pickles and remove the pickling spices.
- 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 (non metal) mixing bowl and stir in the sugar.
- Allow to sit undisturbed for 2 hours. 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 hot sterilized jars and cover them with vinegar solution.
- Cover with a hot 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.
- Test to see if the jar is sealed by touching the center of the seal. If it pops in and out, it is not sealed.
Handling Unsealed Jars
If your jar does not seal, you can 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
- Use cucumbers that are about 5 inches long. A thick cucumber is not a good choice.
- Use freshly picked cucumbers 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 and it is natural for there to be foam.
- 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.
- Do not discard the syrup that settles to the bottom of the pickles, this is drained and brought to a boil with the vinegar and poured over the pickles after packing into the jar.
- Do not skip the sterilization of jars. Boil the washed jars and sealing lids in hot water to sterilize.
- Process any unsealed jars in a hot water bath canner for 15 minutes.
- Any unsealed jars must be stored in the refrigerator.
*If you made this recipe, please give it a star rating*
Nanny's 7 Day Sweet Pickles
- 10 pounds small cucumbers
- ¼ cup salt
- 3 tablespoons alum
- 6 cups apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup pickling spice
- 4 cups granulated sugar
- Clean the cucumbers and soak in ice cold water bath for 30 minutes.
- Drain the cucumbers and trim the ends. Cut into ¼ inch thick chunks.
- Transfer the cucumbers in a large food safe container. Cover with boiling water. Let sit 24 hours.
- Drain the water from cucumber slices.
- Add the salt and pour boiling water over top of the cucumbers and salt. Cover and let sit 24 hours.
- Drain the cucumbers.
- Add the alum and pour boiling water over the cucumbers to cover. Let sit 24 hours
- Drain the cucumbers. Place the pickling spice in a cheesecloth tied with string to form a purse.
- Place the spice packet in the jar with the cucumbers.
- Bring the cider vinegar to a boil. Pour over cucumbers. If there isn't enough vinegar to cover the cucumbers, boil more and add to the cucumbers.
Day 5 and Day 6:
- Do nothing.
- Drain the cucumbers reserving the liquid. Remove the cheesecloth with the pickling spices and discard.
- Place the cucumbers in large mixing bowl. Pour the sugar over top of the cucumbers and toss to coat. Let sit for 2 hours.
- Heat the reserved cucumber liquid and any juices from the the sugar soaked cucumbers until scalding.
- Pack the pickles into hot sterilized jars. Pour hot cucumber liquid over top of the pickles. Wipe any moisture from the lip of the jar. Cover with hot sterilized lids and tighten with screw caps.
- Allow pickles to cool completely on the counter top. Refrigerate any jars that have not sealed.