Seven Day Pickles have been a family favorite around here for too many years to count. The tried-and-true recipe originally came from the grandmother of a dear friend and offers a taste of summer all year long!
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.
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!
Yields 4 pounds of cucumbers yield approximately 7 cups (3 1/2 pints) of pickles.
- 4 pounds of small cucumbers
- Water to cover
- 1 quart white vinegar
- 8 cups sugar (don’t worry, this is just for the brining liquid; you don’t eat it all!)
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons mixed pickle spices (I buy a pickling blend available in the spice aisle; wrap in cheese cloth for easy removal)
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.
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.
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.
Let stand for 24 more hours. On the sixth day, drain the syrup and bring it to a boil. Pour over the cucumbers.
On the last day, drain the syrup again and bring to a boil. Add the cucumber slices and bring to the boiling point.
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.
- 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.
I was given cucumbers but they are the long kind, look like English cukes .How many of these would I use?It is a problem finding a big enough bowl or dish to keep in for 7 days.
What would you suggest.?
Hi Joan, The weight of the cucumbers is the best gauge, as there’s so much variance in size. Small pickling cucumbers are always what I use for these pickles, but to give the recipe a try with the longer English cucumbers, you could try a large rectangular baking dish. Otherwise, it may be challenging to fully submerge them.
This might be silly question but I wanted to ask.
Day 2-4 drain, rinse then place back in bowl, crock, add boiling water over to cover?? Then day 5 starts brine.
So are these delicious sounding pickles considers ‘fermented’? I’m going to try them this week.
Hi Kay, The process is a lot like fermentation, although use of boiling water means that the seven-day pickles are not fermented. I do have several excellent recipes for fermented foods (horseradish pickles, salsa, sauerkraut, and kimchi), although I do highly recommend these!
Do I let the cucumbers sit another 24 hours after the second boiling of the brine before putting in jars??
Hi Terri, On the 5th and 6th days, the brine is boiled and poured over the sliced cucumbers, and then they sit for 24 hours. On the 7th day, the brine is boiled again, and then the cucumbers are added to the brine, returned to a boil, and then immediately transferred to the jars and processed. If you have further questions, don’t hesitate to ask.
Can you slice these prior to starting the process? I like to use a mandoline slicer for uniform slices but it doesn’t work well when I tried it after the boiling water days. Thanks
Hi Jean, My concern is that the pickles might not be as crisp if sliced at the beginning of the process. If you’d like to try (because it would be nice to know for sure!), I’d suggest making a portion of the batch that way as a test.
I packed my cucumbers in a glass jar to soak. Today my fifth day and a couple of pickles were very mush at the bottom of the jar. Are the others ok to process with the binged and sugar.
Hi Al, It’s possible to get a cucumber that’s a little soft – it may have been picked too late or simply is not the freshest. I’d discard any that are mushy (these pickles should not be that) and proceed with the rest. If you have any more questions, don’t hesitate to ask.
I would like to make dill pickles this way. Is there a tweak on recipe for dill?
Hi Annette, This would take some testing to convert, as the flavor profile is quite different from that of a dill pickle. You could add dill, but if you’d like a classic dill pickle recipe, I highly recommend this one: https://fountainavenuekitchen.com/refrigerator-dill-pickles/. Hope this helps!
So glad to have found this recipe!! My grandma used to make these and they were my favorite! I recently moved and lost her recipe in the process so was SO glad to come across this! Have a batch working right now!!
So happy to read your comment, Debra! Enjoy the pickles–and the memories!
I’ve been making these, or something very similar, for years. Got the original recipe out of an Ortho Complete Book of Canning. It can take as long as 8 days or as little as 4, as long as you let them sit a minimum of 6 hours. A bit of turmeric and a touch of vanilla make them extra special. I’ve also been making them in huge batches and canning them, but we recently moved and all my canning stuff is in storage, so I’ve taken to making them “small batch,” and just refrigerating them, and my husband likes them even better this way, because they stay very very crunchy sans sitting in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. It’s really a very cool recipe.
Thank you for all your insight, Auntie Beak. I love the turmeric suggestion, and the addition of vanilla intrigues me!
Question; First time making pickles. I do not have a crock pot. Can I use a stainless steel pot.
Hi Bryan, Yes. Stainless-steel, glass, and ceramic are all considered non-reactive and will work well for making pickles. And enjoy your inaugural batch!
Can u email me the seven day pickle recipe
Just sent a link, Carol. You can scroll down the page and print the recipe if you like.
Can I shorten process by one day? Ie. Only put in boiling water 3 days instead of 4
Hi Marilyn, I’ve always followed this recipe to the letter, but I would imagine that if you were to skip one of the boiling water days the pickles would likely still turn out well. Having not tried it, I just can’t guarantee.
Can you use Splenda sweetener instead of the sugar? I am making these for a friend who has diabetes!
Helen, How thoughtful of you to want to make these for a friend. I have not tried this recipe with Splenda, and I’m not so sure it would turn out well. If I tried a sugar substitute, I would choose a cup for cup equivalent and do a test run on a small batch. If you decide to experiment (or if other readers have and can comment), I’d love to know what the results are.
Day 5-7 should you keep the plate on them?
Hi Julie, I keep the plate on top, simply to help keep the cucumbers fully submerged.
My slices are white in middle and transparent on edges. What did I do wrong that not completely transparent. I am on day 6. Will it happen ?
Hi Sharon, It’s hard to tell without seeing them, but unless the cucumbers were picked a little too late, my guess is that they are likely just fine and will end up looking as you expect by the time you’re finished. If that’s not the case, feel free to check back in.
Hi. Would you need to put any alum in the pickles at all to make the crispy?? Just asking???
Hi Mary, That’s a good question and you don’t need alum to keep these pickles crisp. I’ve made them many, many times over the years without it and have always ended up with crisp pickles. The process over the seven days seems to ensure a consistently crisp outcome.
Hello, I’m making these pickles and I’m on day 4 and the cucumbers smell sour. Is this ok.
Hi Anne, The cucumbers do smell more strongly of cucumber, for lack of a better description, as time goes on which might seem sort of sour smelling to you. All is likely fine but if you have more questions as you proceed, feel free to check back!
Early in the process I feared these wouldn’t be crisp but they turned out great! Thanks for recipe!!!
My pleasure, M.J. I’m delighted they were a success!