Cucumber pickle

This lovely European pickle is a great way to use up a glut of cucumbers.

Do not panic at the amount of salt you see in the recipe, the salt is used to draw moisture from the cucumber and you will be rinsing this away before making the pickle.

The art to this pickle is in the preparation, to get as much moisture out of the cucumber as possible, if you don’t, the cucumbers can end up a bit soft and slimy.  So do take time to slice the cucumber finely and layer with the onion, sprinkling each layer with salt.

Once matured, after about 1 month, this pickle will make a great accompaniment to cheeses but also has enough “bite” to put with cold meats.

You will need;

  • 1 large glass bowl

    Cucumber pickle

    A great way to use up those cucumbers

  • 1 plate (that fits inside the bowl about half way)
  • 1 heavier object to press down the plate (we used another smaller bowl filled with water)
  • large pan or jam making pan.
  • Slotted spoon, sieve or strainer.
  • Approx 4 x 1\2 Kg jars with screw tops.


4 large cucumbers
6 -8 Small shallots or 3 medium onions (shallots tend to have a little more depth of flavour)
50g of salt

For the syrup:

550ml of white wine or cider vinegar (Do not use normal malt vinegar as this does not have enough acid content for pickling).
450g of soft brown sugar
1 tablespoon of mustard seed
1 tablespoon of celery or dill seed
½ teaspoon of ground cloves
½ teaspoon of ground turmeric

How to make the pickle

Wash the cucumber (leave on the green skin) and peel the onions or shallots.  Slice them both as thin as you can.

Put a layer of cucumbers and onions in the bowl and add a good sprinkling of salt, repeat this process until you have used up all your cucumber and onion.

Place a clean plate on top and weigh down to expel as much of the moisture as possible.  Leave this to stand for a minimum of four hours or overnight.

There should now be quite a quantity of liquid in the bowl, pour this off and rinse the cucumber and onion mixture in cold water a couple of times to get rid of the salt.  Make sure you pour off as much water as possible after rinsing.

Sterilise your jars by washing them in soapy water and rinsing in clean warm water. Place them on the oven shelf at 140C/275F (gas mark 1) and allow to dray for about half an hour.

Put the vinegar, sugar and spices in the pan on medium heat, stirring until all the sugar has dissolved.  Then add the cucumber and onion to the syrup and bring to the boil for only a couple of minutes.
Remove the cucumber and onions using a slotted spoon or strainer and place in a heatproof bowl in the oven with your jam jars.
Place the syrup back on the heat to simmer (not boil), to reduce the syrup for about 15 minutes.

When syrup has reduced, fill each of the warm jars with the cucumber and onion mixture making sure you do not press it down, pour over the syrup to fill the jars and seal.

Label when cold and put jars in a dark dry place for about four weeks to mature.