Seven-Day Pickles

Seven-Day-Pickles

Every summer, I look forward to making seven-day pickles.  Although the name implies a long, arduous process, the steps are quite simple and require just a few minutes most days. The reward is a sweet pickle that is unlike any other I have tried.  Growing up, I only liked dill pickles…until I tried these.

The main trick is to find a week when you will be home every day.  The last day is when the actual canning takes place although, to eliminate that step, the pickles can simply be packed in jars and stored in the refrigerator. Vinegar is an excellent preservative and, believe it or not, these pickles taste just as great after a year as they do right away.  They even keep their crunch.

Seven-Day Pickles
I have always kept the bowl of pickles on the counter throughout the weeklong process. Recent food safety guidelines are stricter, however, and do recommend placing most food items in the refrigerator after two hours to avoid food-born illness. After day seven, I refrigerate the finished jars, where the pickles will keep indefinitely. If you choose to process the finished jars in a hot water bath, the pickles may then be stored at room temperature.

Yields 4 pounds of cucumbers yield approximately 7 cups (3 1/2 pints) of pickles.
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Ingredients
  1. 4 pounds of small cucumbers
  2. Water to cover
  3. 1 quart white vinegar
  4. 8 cups sugar (don’t worry, this is just for the brining liquid; you don’t eat it all!)
  5. 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  6. 2 tablespoons mixed pickle spices (I buy a pickling blend available in the spice aisle; wrap in cheese cloth for easy removal)
Instructions
  1. Wash the cucumbers, drain well, and place them in a large, non-reactive bowl (this means ceramic, enamel or glass as opposed to metal). Pour boiling water over the cucumbers to cover. Let stand at room temperature for 24 hours. (Placing a dinner plate on top will help keep the cucumbers fully submerged.) The next day, drain and rinse the cucumbers. Place the cucumbers back in the bowl, and repeat this step each day for the first 4 days.
  2. On the fifth day, drain and rinse the cucumbers, and then cut into approximately 1/4-inch coins. (I prefer my pickles on the thicker side; adjust thickness according to your preference; see notes.) Put them back into the bowl.
  3. In a large pot (still on the fifth day), combine the vinegar, sugar, salt, and the wrapped spices. Bring the mixture to a boil, and then carefully pour over the cut cucumbers.
  4. Let stand for 24 more hours. On the sixth day, drain the syrup and bring it to a boil. Pour over the cucumbers.
  5. On the last day, drain the syrup again and bring to a boil. Add the cucumber slices and bring to the boiling point.
  6. Pack into clean canning jars, leaving 1/4 inch of headspace. Discard the bundle of spices. Process the jars for 10 minutes or store in the refrigerator.
Notes
  1. When slicing the cucumbers into coins, make sure to cut off and discard approximately 1/8-inch of the blossom end. It contains and enzyme that can cause the pickles to soften over time if not removed.
The Fountain Avenue Kitchen http://fountainavenuekitchen.com/
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The original recipe calls for seven pounds of cucumbers. I have found, however, that using a lesser amount of cucumbers ensures there is sufficient brine to cover the pickles in the jars and still yields plenty to save and to share. If you prefer a larger batch, I recommend using 1 1/2 times the brine recipe for amounts greater than four pounds and up to six or seven pounds of cucumbers. After that, I would double the brine…and make sure your bowl is really big!

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Comments

  1. Gina D'Ambrosio

    I can’t wait to try this recipe! I have some good ones but am always open to trying something new. 🙂
    I just made garlic-dill (with hot pepper) and bread and butter! Fun and yummy! 🙂

    Reply
    1. Ann

      Both of your versions sound delicious, Gina! Hope you enjoy this one, too. I have to ration them throughout the year: )

      Reply
  2. Emma

    A question – I´ve never made pickles like this and live in Spain at the moment. I´ve never seen Kosher salt here, (not actually sure what the difference is?) Can I use sea salt? And the pickling spice – I´ve not seen anything like that here either – any idea what I could put together to substitute a ready mixed pack?
    Thanks.

    Reply
    1. Ann

      Love Spain! I lived there for a short time years ago: ) Sea salt would be a perfect substitute for kosher salt. If it is light and flaky, you might want to make the tablespoons slightly rounded as the kosher salt would pack a little tighter. Pickling spices are typically a combination of spices such as mustard seeds, allspice, coriander seeds, cloves, ground ginger, red pepper flakes, bay leaf, and cinnamon. I just checked my mix and it also has cardamom and black pepper. Perhaps you could make a combination of most of these. If you try, let me know!

      Reply
    1. Ann

      Hi Nancy,
      Yes, you can process them for 15 minutes to seal and store. For those who prefer to skip this step, the jars may be stored in the refrigerator and will last quite a number of months. Hope you enjoy!

      Reply
  3. Margo

    Hi, Ann. I’ve looked all over for an answer to this.. I’m in the middle of making this pickles (day 3). Should I be leaving them out on the counter for those 24 hours, or sticking them in the fridge? I seem to remember my mom putting them in the fridge, but I can’t find anything that says for sure either way.

    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Ann

      Great question, Margo, and I will clarify in the recipe above. I have always done it just like my grandmother and a friend’s grandmother did–leave the bowl on the counter at room temperature. For people who may not be comfortable with this, I am sure the pickles will be every bit as good if refrigerated throughout the process. (In my mind, I always believed that the vinegar provided an unfriendly environment for bacteria.) I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

      Reply
  4. Marge

    I HAVE MADE THIS RECIPE FOR YEARS. I HAVE NOT PLACED IN WATER BATH FOR 15 MIN. i HAVE NOT HAD A PROBLEM WITH SEALING IN STERIL JARS. iS IT NECESSARY TO 15 MIN WATER BATH

    Reply
    1. Ann

      Hi Marge,
      I have also done this without the water bath–my grandmother always did it that way, too. According to the latest recommendations from the experts in food preservation, however, it is the preferred way to avoid food-born illness. As a result, I recommend it out of an abundance of caution. I hope that helps…and enjoy those pickles!

      Reply
  5. Pingback: Old-Fashioned Horseradish Pickles — The Fountain Avenue Kitchen

    1. Ann Post author

      Hi Carrie, If it’s close, I would add a little water to cover. It’s best to have the pickles fully covered. If you used more cucumbers and you have a lot that aren’t submerged, you could make a fraction of the brine recipe to add in. I hope that helps. Let me know if you have any more questions!

      Reply
  6. Mary Stayner

    When I sliced my cucumbers some of them were almost hollow, does that mean that I shouldn’t use them? What did I do wrong? Help! 🙂

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      Hi Mary, Holes in cucumbers are usually a result of drought or lack of water when growing. This has happened to me, too, and it’s a bit of an unwanted surprise when you cut into them. The good news is, though they may not look perfect, they will usually taste fine. That said, if I come across some that are almost hollow, as you mention, or are at all spongy, I discard them. I do think that most of your pickles will turn out well. Let me know if you have any more questions!

      Reply
      1. Mary Stayner

        Thank you SO much! I will proceed…really looking forward to tasting these…hoping they are like my mom’s that she made when I was little…in an old crock… 🙂

        Reply