Seven Day Sweets (Luvey's Sweet Pickles)

By • June 9, 2013 • 45 Comments

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Author Notes: For years now, I’ve made a sweet, tangy pickle I named for my Grandmother’s housekeeper, Luvey, who brought us an ice cold jar or two every summer. Lunches of hard boiled eggs and sweet pickles were a favorite after gardening or running through the sprinkler.MrsWheelbarrow

Makes 3 pints

  • 2.5 pounds Kirby or pickling cucumbers
  • 1 tablespoon Kosher or pickling salt
  • 2.5 teaspoons Alum, a naturally occurring mineral that crisps the pickle
  • 4 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon pickling spice tied in a cheesecloth bundle or tucked into a stainless steel tea ball
  • 1 cup white sugar
  1. Day One Soak the cucumbers in ice cold water for 30 minutes. Drain the water and scrub the cucumbers well to dislodge any remaining dirt. Slice a small amount off each end of the cucumber, then slice into ½” slices. A mandolin is useful, but not necessary. Pack the slices into a half gallon jar or two quart jars. Cover with boiling water. Cover the jar and let it sit overnight on the counter.
  2. Day Two Drain the water away. Do not rinse. Dissolve the salt in one quart of boiling water. Pour the salted water over the cucumber slices while still warm. Cover and let it sit out overnight.
  3. Day Three. Drain the water away. Do not rinse. Add the alum to one quart of boiling water. Pour the alum water over the cucumber slices while still warm.
  4. Day Four. Drain the water away. Bring the cider vinegar to a boil. Tuck the pickling spice sachet into the jar with the pickles and pour the warm vinegar over the pickles. Cover and let the pickles brine for three days.
  5. Day Five and Six Gaze longingly at your pickles to be.
  6. Day Seven. Drain the pickles, reserving ½ cup of the vinegar. Dispose of the spices. Place the pickles in a large bowl and sprinkle the sugar over the pickles and add back the vinegar. Cover and set aside for one hour. Pack the pickles into pint jars and scrape all the sugar and syrup over them. Cap the jars and set aside. Turn the jars over every day for a few days, as the sugar draws liquid out of the pickles to make a syrup, then store in the cupboard. There is no need to process them in a boiling water bath.
  7. Chill the pickles well before serving.
Jump to Comments (45)

Comments (45) Questions (1)

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3 months ago Nancy

The water does not cover the pickles. Should I add enough water to cover, and if so, should I add a commensurate amount of salt, sugar and alum?

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3 months ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

Place a plate or something weighty on top of the cucumber slices to compress them enough to put them under water. If that doesn't work, you will need to build additional brine with the same ratio as the original.

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about 1 year ago Donna Voelker

OMG I can hardly wait. I just did day 7 added my sugar & I can smell the spices. This is only the 2nd time I've canned pickles and the 1st time it wasn't to good

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about 1 year ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

That's so great!

Stringio

about 1 year ago Kathleen McLain

Hi, I'm wondering about canning the pickles. You said no they don't need to be processed. Will the jars seal without the boiling water bath.

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about 1 year ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

The jars do not seal without the water bath. They are shelf stable without processing, but you can process them for five minutes in a water bath if you wish.

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about 1 year ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

MrsW, what is your favorite (homemade) pickling spice formula for these pickles? Have some gorgeous Kirbies (from today's farmers' market -- their blossoms were still fresh looking!) soaking in cold water now . . . . Thank you. ;o)

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about 1 year ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

I am so jealous. Cucumber wilt is killing all the vines out here. Sigh. Here is my blend:
1 teaspoon ground galangal
1 Tablespoon allspice berries
4 whole cloves
1 Tablespoon coriander seed
2 bay leaves crushed
1.5 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 Tablespoon yellow mustard seed
3? cinnamon stick, crushed

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about 1 year ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

The red pepper is optional, but I like it.

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about 1 year ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Wow, thanks for the lightning fast reply! I always use fresh galangal, so I haven't any dried on hand. Would a thin slice of the fresh in each jar work instead? Thanks again. ;o)

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about 1 year ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

Substitute ground ginger, if you have that. I make this spice mix in quantity, so never considered fresh galangal or ginger. I'm not sure of ratio, but why not? LMK what you learn.

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about 1 year ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Any reason not to use Korean cucumbers to make these pickles? The ones at my local Korean grocer are so fresh, juicy and flavorful. The skin is a bit thinner than Persians or Kirbys, but oh, they taste so good! I'm about to embark on this project Friday night . . . . Thank you. ;o)

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about 1 year ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

AJ, I've had very unsatisfactory results with Persian cucumbers, so will be interested in how it works with the Korean cukes!

New_years_kitchen_hlc_only

about 1 year ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

I'll do a "small" batch (3 or 4 pounds), and let you know! Thanks for the prompt reply. ;o) P.S. Now, if I could just find a decent watermelon with a nice thick rind on it . . . .

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6 months ago Horto

I have been looking for a good pickled watermelon recipe, do you have one?

Stringio

about 1 year ago Svea Ruth Liljestrand

I found Alum(made by McCormick), in the spice isle, at my grocery store. It's a small round jar.

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about 1 year ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

It's kind of a commodity item (i.e., not particularly interesting and not susceptible to product differentiation or higher margin product "spins") so it tends to be on the lower or bottom shelf in the grocery stores around here. I had my doubts when I first bought the stuff, worrying that it might give the pickles a "store bought" taste, but I did not notice it at all. These pickles are so good! ;o)

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about 1 year ago Jillian

I couldn't find "alum" at the grocery store will calcium cloride work?

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about 1 year ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

Alum and calcium chloride are two very different substances. I've never used calcium chloride and don't know how or if it would work.

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about 1 year ago AmandaO

The alum is for firmness? I am not concerned about alum; I just don't have any. The USDA no longer recommends its use, I think? Is the alum step necessary for the safety of the pickles?

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about 1 year ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

The alum is a crisping agent. Someone used black tea (see earlier comments) and it worked well.

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about 1 year ago AmandaO

Thanks, Cathy! I am so excited about these pickes. I don't see the black tea comment, I'll look on the recipe.

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about 1 year ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

Hi Amanda, I'm not sure about lime or pickle crisp - follow the directions on the package. I've been making these pickles for decades, literally, with alum.

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about 1 year ago aJ

is there a similar recipe for non-sweet pickles? Thanks!

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about 1 year ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

I wish! No, this recipe is just for sweet pickles.

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about 1 year ago Chellarella

What do you cover the jar with on day one?

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about 1 year ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

If the jar has a cover, use that, or cover with cheesecloth or a clean tea towel.

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about 1 year ago sadzo

When adding liquid, after boiled-you say add while still warm. Is the liquid added immediately-or does it have to cool for a few minutes?

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about 1 year ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

Add the liquid right away. That little bit of "cooking" is what makes the pickles perfect.

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about 1 year ago Lori Donivan-Files

Not Understanding the juice when you go to put them in jars. There isn't enough to cover the pickles. Can you explain? thanks

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about 1 year ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

Pack the pickles in the jars snugly. Turn the jars over every day for a week or so. The sugar draws liquid out of the pickles and makes more syrup. By the end of a few days, the pickles should be submerged.

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about 1 year ago Lori Donivan-Files

Thanks.

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about 1 year ago Lori Donivan-Files

Do you rinse them on day four? To rinse the alum off?

Stringio

about 1 year ago Cathy Barrow

No, you don't rinse them.

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about 1 year ago AmandaO

But if you use lime or pickle crisp (calcium?), you do have to wash it off?

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over 1 year ago Holmestead Farms

Just wondering if on day four I should rinse the cukes after draining. My recollection is that alum needs to be rinsed off?

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over 1 year ago Sterling

great - thanks very much

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over 1 year ago Sterling

how long do they keep?

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over 1 year ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

A year

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over 1 year ago Snigdha

Hello Mrs Wheelbarrow,
What is in the pickling spice mix and what are the quantities, please?
Many thanks
Snigdha (Snig of Snig's Kitchen)

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over 1 year ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

Pickling spice is widely available in the grocery store. I prefer to make my own. You'll find the recipe on my blog. mrswheelbarrow.com

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over 1 year ago Snigdha

Hello Mrs Wheelbarrow,
Thanks for your reply. I will check your recipe out. I always prefer to make my own spice mixes rather than buy them in. My only exception is garam masala, but that is because I don't have the time or inclination to roast them all and grind them in large quantities. Call me lazy, I don't mind!
Thanks again!
Snigdha (Snig of Snig's Kitchen)
xx

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over 1 year ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

I made twelve pints of these last year, having found the recipe on your blog. They are outstanding! Everyone loves them. At first I thought, "How on earth are we going to get through all of these?" Ten months later, I'm planning another batch, of the same size. These are particularly good chopped into egg salad, tuna salad, potato salad, etc. And of course, they're excellent on any sandwich. I make a wonderful salad dressing using them as well. The best pickles. Ever. So glad you posted this here! ;o)

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over 1 year ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

Thank you so much! I love them in egg salad, too.

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about 1 year ago Jillian

Can u share the dressing recipe?