Recipe for sweet pickles?

I’ve got a fine crop of cucumbers coming in, so…sweet pickle recipes?

I’ve often made dill pickles, and bread & butter sliced pickles, but I’ve never seen a recipe for making ‘whole’ sweet pickles. Is it not practical to do at home?

I have the usual canning supplies (water bath, mason jars, rings, etc.) so recipes requiring processing would be fine, but I’m also open to ‘refrigerator’ pickles version.


My Aunt makes a really incredible old fashioned, Sweet Lime Pickle (That’s Lime, as in Calcium Hydroxide), they are by far my favorite sweet pickle. The lime cure gives the Cucumber slices an incredible crispness- the texture and taste are luscious and hard to beat. I also love the hint of cloves.

Here’s a recipe that I found online.


7 lb. cucumbers, sliced 1/4 inch thick and cover with 2 gallons of cold water to which 2 cups of lime has been added. Soak 24 hours, stir often. Then rinse 2 or 3 times until water is clear. Soak in clear cold water 3 hours. Rinse again and drain. Let soak in the following overnight:

2 qt. vinegar
1 tbsp. salt
4 1/2 pt. sugar
2 tbsp. celery seed
2 tbsp. whole cloves
2 tbsp. whole pickling spice

Next morning bring cucumbers and liquid to a boil, cook 10 minutes or until pickles are clear. Place in jars and make sure pickles are covered with liquid. Place lids on jars and wait for lids to seal. Store anywhere. Can eat right away. Longer they set the better the flavor.

Another thing. These pickles are usually a bright neon green… I believe some recipes have an addition of green food coloring. It really is worth it, I believe it adds to the uniqueness of these pickles.

Most English recipes will call it Piccalilli but whatever you call it you need it on any corned beef sandwich.

I wish there were more pickle recipes for small batches - I usually have 3 or 4 pounds at a time. I’ve got a great book called Small Batch Preserving, and that helps, but I’d like more recipes. I’ve done bread and butter and dill from there, and my parents opened a jar of the bread and butter at two weeks and they were pretty good but I’d like to let it go for at least another two because they didn’t really taste pickled enough for me.

After doing some searching, The Lime Pickles that I mentioned also have a variant known as crystal or crystallized pickles and they often use alum/and or lime for crispness.

Considering your whole pickle requirement here are a couple of recipes using whole pickle cucumbers. It is a rather involved process, though…could be fun.

Crystal Pickles Recipe


25-30 cucumbers

Stand whole cucumbers in a brine of salt water (strong enough to float an egg) for 2 weeks.
Wash good after 2 weeks, slice and place in cold water with 2 tablespoons alum overnight (24 hours) wash again, next day.

Bring to a boil the following: 2 qt. sugar 1 tsp. whole cloves 2 sticks cinnamon Few drops green food coloring

Pour over pickles, let stand overnight. Next morning drain; heat liquid. Pour over pickles again until next morning, on this day (3) heat liquid again. Pack pickles into clean jars. Pour liquid over pickles and seal. Makes 12 pints.


Recipe By :
Serving Size : 1 Preparation Time :0:00
Categories :
Amount Measure Ingredient – Preparation Method

4       lb           Of pickling cucumbers*
                     -- (2- to 5-inch)
  3/4   c            Canning or pickling salt
                     -(Separated in thirds)
2       ts           Celery seed
2       tb           Mixed pickling spices
5 1/2   c            Sugar
4       c            Vinegar (5 percent)

*(If packed whole, use cucumbers of uniform size)

Can be canned whole, in strips, or in slices.

Yield: About 5 to 9 pints

Procedure: Wash cucumbers. Cut 1/16-inch slice off
blossom end and discard, but leave 1/4-inch of stem
attached. Place whole cucumbers in suitable 1-gallon
container. Add 1/4 cup canning or pickling salt to 2
quarts water and bring to a boil. Pour over cucumbers.
Add suitable cover and weight. Place clean towel over
container and keep the temperature at about 70 degrees

On the third and fifth days, drain salt water and
discard. Rinse cucumbers and rescald cover and weight.
Return cucumbers to container. Add 1/4 cup salt to 2
quarts fresh water and boil. Pour over cucumbers.
Replace cover and weight, and re-cover with clean
towel. On the seventh day, drain salt water and
discard. Rinse cucumbers and rescald containers,
cover, and weight. Slice or strip cucumbers, if
desired, and return to container. Place celery seed
and pickling spices in small cheesecloth bag. Combine
2 cups sugar and 4 cups vinegar in a saucepan. Add
spice bag, bring to a boil and pour pickling solution
over cucumbers. Add cover and weight, and re-cover
with clean towel.

On each of the next six days, drain syrup and spice
bag and save. Add 1/2 cup sugar each day and bring to
a boil in a saucepan. Remove cucumbers and rinse.
Scald container, cover, and weight daily. Return
cucumbers to container, add boiled syrup, cover,
weight, and re-cover with towel.

On the 14th day, drain syrup into saucepan. Fill
sterile pint jars (for more information see “Jars and
Lids”) or clean quart jars, leaving 1/2-inch
headspace. Add 1/2 cup sugar to syrup and bring to
boil. Remove spice bag. Pour hot syrup over cucumbers,
leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Adjust lids and process
according to the recommendations in Table 1 or use
low-temperature pasteurization treatment. (For more
information see “Low-Temperature Pasteurization
Treatment”.) Table 1. Recommended process time for
14-day Sweet Pickles in a boiling-water canner.

Style of Pack: Raw. Jar Size: Pints.
Process Time at Altitudes of 0 - 1,000 ft: 5 min.
1,001 - 6,000 ft: 10 min.
Above 6,000 ft: 15 min.

Style of Pack: Raw. Jar Size: Quarts.
Process Time at Altitudes of 0 - 1,000 ft: 10 min.
1,001 - 6,000 ft: 15 min.
Above 6,000 ft: 20 min.

ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ ÿ * USDA Agriculture Information Bulletin No. 539
(rev. 1994) * Meal-Master format courtesy of Karen

Devilsknew, thank you so much for all the recipes! They all sound excellent and so I plan to try them all by the end of the season. And if I turn out not to like some varieties? Christmas presents for my not-quite-so beloved relatives.


I never knew you treated pickles with lime. I wonder where you buy ‘eating grade’ lime, at least, I doubt you want to use the stuff that comes in 50 pound bags for sprinkling over your grass. :smiley:

I don’t have a recipe, but sweet lime pickles are very good, in my opinion.

I’m glad I could be of service, I just fondly remember having these crispy sweet pickles at Family Reunions and other special occasions. They are just so good… almost like candy. The texture provided by the lime is almost apple like in crispness. I have only had the lime pickles as cucumber slices, so I am not sure how well whole pickle cucumbers would benefit from the cure. The spice is also important, I know that clove is dominant and I think celery seed is also in there (I gotta get my Aunt’s recipe!).

And yes… you are quite right do not use agricultural Lime when making pickles.

Also to note:

You can get food grade lime online: Mrs. Wages Pickling Lime