How to make sweet pickles: Great grandmas sweet memory pickles

Sweet Memory Pickles

Sweet pickles are a yummy year round treat that are easy to make. These sweet memory pickles have been in my family for generations and are still a favorite after all this time. The recipe is a little unusual and takes a little advance planning but the resulting pickles are well worth the effort!

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A nice long soak

Admitedly this recipe has a lot of wait time. 8 days of it to be exact. May people may wonder why? What can you possibly get by soaking your pickles that long?

Well, since this is such an old recipe I can’t say for sure. My personal thinking is that the process of repeatedly soaking in boiling water helps kill off bacteria and crisp the skin. After doing some digging I found this discussion thread whose users added the idea of rehydrating the cucumbers and removing impurities. Many of these reasons make sense. Especially if using cucumbers that are not garden fresh.

As cucumbers age their skin starts to soften. Not only is this soft skin undesirable in a pickle, it also releases more moisture, causing the cucumber to start shriveling. At the same time bacteria are gradually starting to work their way into the skin trying to get at the nutrients contained inside. The repeated soaks in boiling water help to reverse several of these processes. As a result you can get good pickles out of old cucumbers. Some of the ones we used were several weeks old and still came out nice and crispy!

Worth the wait

After the long series of soaks, all these pickles require is to be sealed and stored properly in jars. Altogether it is a fairly easy recipe to follow and doesn’t require all that much of your time. Just some counter space and patience.

Sweet memory pickles ready to eat.
Sweet memory pickles ready to eat.

The resulting pickles are sweet, crispy, and definitely worth the wait!

Sweet Memory Pickles

This sweet pickle recipe is an old family favorite! The pickles are crisp and sweet, perfect for adding to salads or sandwiches!
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 20 mins
Resting Time 8 d
Total Time 8 d 1 hr 50 mins


  • cutting board
  • 1 gallon jar (or another large container with a lid)
  • knife
  • cutting board
  • pot
  • measuring spoons


  • 1 quart White Vinagar
  • 8 cups Sugar
  • 2 tbs Salt
  • 2 sticks Cinammon
  • 1/4 tsp Mace
  • 1 tbs Whole Cloves
  • 1/2 tsp Green Food Coloring This is optional. It just gives the pickles a vibrant green color.
  • 1 gallon Whole Pickling Cucumbers This is a bit approximate but you want enough cucumbers to fill the gallon jar. Do not slice them yet!


The whole cucumber soak period

  • Place whole cucumbers in a gallon jar and cover in boiling water. Place the lid on the jar.
  • Let cucumbers stand in the water for 24 hours.
  • Drain the boiling water off the cucumbers. Cover cucumbers in boiling water again and let stand again for 3 more 24 hour periods. In total, the cucumbers will spend 4 days covered in water.

The sliced cucumber soak period

  • Slice the cucumbers to the desired thickness.
  • Combine the vinegar, sugar, salt, cinnamon, mace, whole cloves, and green food coloring (if using) in a large pot. Boil the combination for 10 minutes to make the syrup.
  • Strain the syrup and then pour it over the sliced cucumbers, the cucumbers should be covered by the syrup.
  • Place the strained materials in a container in the fridge for later use.
  • Let the cucumbers stand in the syrup for 24 hours.
  • For the next 3 days drain the syrup for the cucumbers, add back in the strained materials, boil for 10 minutes, then pour over cucumbers again (the cucumber will spend a total of 4 days in the syrup).
  • At the end of day 4 of the syrup soak the pickles are done. Seal the jar for storage.
Keyword pickle, sweet

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