Sweet Pickled Cucumbers Recipe

sweet pickled cucumbers served in a small round dish
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These sweet pickled cucumbers are just sour enough to whet your appetite but they have a touch of sweetness to satisfy your taste buds. Serve this sweet pickled cucumber recipe as a refreshing appetizer on a hot day or as a light side for a heavy meal. Top 9 allergen free recipe.

This post was updated on January 7, 2024 with minor edits for readability. This post originally contained a review for Pickle Juice which we still like but I deleted it to stay on topic.

Disclaimer: Please check that all ingredients are suitable for your allergies and be sure to ask your medical care team regarding any allergy related questions (I do not share medical advice). As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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Easy and Refreshing Side Dish for Summer

I recently made Sweet Pickled Cucumbers because it’s a great make-ahead no-cook side veggie. San Francisco Bay Area folks know that the end of September through mid October is heat wave season and it’s the best time of year to visit. My kitchen has big western facing windows and it just feels too hot to cook dinner sometimes.

I trick myself into feeling cooler by thinking about Auntie Gum. My family used to visit Auntie Gum in Suisun, which is a farming community near Sacramento, CA. I treasure my memories of a sweet lady who talked with great enthusiasm about her garden. Auntie Gum enjoyed showing us her Asian vegetables that grew in the shade of her giant pomelo tree.  It was always blazing hot in her pear orchard but her home felt like a cool refuge. It was a peaceful memory and brought me back to simpler and more peaceful times.

I had previously shared with you the inspiration for my recipe for Japanese Sweet Cucumber Salad, Sunomono, a refreshing side dish that one can make and eat right away. This Sweet Pickled Cucumber is different because the cucumber slices are brined rather than dressed and they are very flavorful and crunchy. Auntie Gum used to serve some of her delicious pickled cucumbers to us during our visits and send us home with a jar to enjoy at home.

Recipe Tips:

This recipe works great with big cucumbers, too many cucumbers, or a surprise bumper crop from your garden. I feel less guilty about scooping out the seeds and composting them.

I like to store these sweet pickled cucumbers in an airtight glass storage jar with a clamp on the lid (affiliate). These kinds of jars are airtight which will prevent spoilage and the rubber gasket around the lid won’t rust. Also since the sweet pickles will be in your refrigerator for a few days, you want to prevent any spillage in case the jar tips over.

small serving of sweet cucumbers in a small round dish

Enticing Kids to Eat Veggies

When my children were little, they did not like eating vegetables. But my parents, grandparents, and other relatives all gardened and had the most delicious fresh foods to eat so I gardened with my kids. My kids and I spent a lot of time digging, planting, and watering and really enjoyed the fruits of our labor. When we had friends over, my son went outside, picked a sweet pea, showed them, and devoured it proudly.

We had so much cucumbers that were all ready at the same time, so I would make jars and jars of sweet pickled cucumbers like Auntie Gum. It’s been many years since I’ve been able to grow as many cucumbers due to California’s drought. Even though store bought cucumbers are not the same as homegrown cucumbers, I tried it anyways with great success. Yay! Now we can enjoy pickled cucumbers all year round.

For this recipe, I prefer to use regular cucumbers or English cucumbers. If the skin is thick or waxy, I recommend peeling them. You can also peel them 50% so that there are pretty stripes. We eat the sweet pickled cucumbers quickly within a day or two but can last for a week or two since they’re stored in the refrigerator.

This recipe as written is free of the top 9 allergens.

Gluten free readers need to make sure to use a rice vinegar that specifically says “gluten free” and follow up with the manufacturer if in doubt. Auntie Gum also added a chopped herb called “gee sue” in Cantonese, it looks like a purple basil with serrated edges (possibly perilla or shiso). The sweet pickled cucumbers taste great without the herbs but I’m noting it for my kids, in case they ever come across “gee sue.”

If you like cucumbers and the taste of rice vinegar, you might also like my recipe for Easy Cucumber and Avocado Sushi Rolls. 

Sweet Pickled Cucumbers

Course vegetable side dish
Cuisine Chinese
Keyword sweet pickled cucumber
Prep Time 10 minutes
pickling time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 30 kcal
Author Sharon Wong

Ingredients

  • 1 pound cucumbers
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup sugar

Instructions

  1. Halve the cucumbers, scrape out the seeds with a spoon, and thinly slice on a diagonal.
  2. Combine the cucumber slices with 1/2 teaspoons of salt in a bowl and let it rest for a few minutes.
  3. Stir the rice vinegar, water, and sugar in a medium sized glass jar until the sugar is dissolved.
  4. Rinse and drain the cucumber slices, add to the vinegar mixture, cover the jar with a lid and mix.

  5. Refrigerate for at least one hour (it will taste best overnight) before serving and eat within a week. Always transfer the sweet cucumbers from the jar to a serving dish with a clean utensil.

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About Sharon Wong 266 Articles
Welcome to Nut Free Wok, a blog about Allergy Aware Asian Fare. I hope that you will find my food allergy mom experiences helpful and enjoyable to read as I write about recipes, cooking techniques, Asian ingredients, and food allergy related awareness and advocacy issues. My professional experiences include education, teaching, and a little bit of science and computers. Thank you for visiting! ~Sharon Wong, M.Ed.

2 Comments

  1. If it helps at all, the herb that your Auntie Gum used in her pickled cucumbers was probably what is called Aka Shiso in Japanese. The plants were super easy to grow in SoCal. Kitazawa Seed Co sells the seeds online.

    • Thank you! I eventually figured out that it’s a perilla plant and ordered it from Kitazawa seeds. I don’t think they grew very well or thrived, it might not be the right climate zone for it. I want to try and grow them again this year but baby the plants. 😉

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