Sweet Icicle Fermented Pickles

Although this recipe requires small tasks over several days, pickle lovers believe the distinctly tangy flavours that result from fermentation are well worth the wait. Be sure to keep cucumbers consistently cool { 70º - 75ºF (21º-24º C )} – throughout the fermentation period.


  • 4 lb (1.8 kg) medium 4-6 inch (10-15 cm) pickling cucumbers
  • 1 cup (250 ml) pickling salt
  • 8 cups (2000 ml) water
  • 1 -1/2 tbsp (20 ml) mixed pickling spices
  • 5 cups (1250 ml) granulated sugar
  • 5 cups (1250 ml) vinegar


  • Thoroughly scrub and rinse cucumbers, remove blossom ends. Cut prepared cucumbers lengthwise into quarters or smaller icicles and place in a clean pickling container.
  • Combine salt and water in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Pour over cucumbers and weight under brine so they are well submerged. Cover, let stand 1 week in cool place which is consistently at 70º - 75ºF (21º-24ºC) throughout the 7-day fermentation process. Check daily, removing all scum that forms on top of the brine.
  • 8th day – Drain cucumbers; discard brine. Rinse cucumbers thoroughly; drain. Cover cucumbers with fresh boiling water; cover; let stand 24 hours in a cool place.
  • 9th day –Drain cucumbers, discard liquid. Tie spices in a cheesecloth square creating a spice bag. Combine spice bag, sugar and vinegar in a large stainless steel saucepan and bring to a boil; pour over cucumbers. Cover; let stand 24 hours a cool place.
  • 10th 11th, 12th, 13th days – Drain liquid from cucumbers into a stainless steel saucepan; bring to a boil with spice bag. Pour over cucumbers; cover and let stand 24 hours longer in a cool place.
  • 14th day – Place 6 clean 500 ml mason jars on a rack in a boiling water canner. Cover jars with water and heat to a simmer (180°F/82°C). Set screw bands aside. Keep jars hot until ready to use.

  • Preheating Bernardin® lids is not advised. The sealing compound used for our home canning lids performs better at room temperature than it does pre-heated in simmering water (180°F). Simply wash lids in hot, soapy water, dry, and set aside until needed. Preheating can lead to less vacuum being achieved during water bath canning, and to buckle failures during pressure canning.
  • Discard spice bag. Drain liquid from cucumbers into a large stainless steel saucepan and bring to a boil.
  • Pack cucumbers into a hot jar to within 3/4 inch (2 cm) of top rim. Add hot pickling liquid to cover cucumbers to within 1/2 inch (1 cm) of top of jar (headspace). Using nonmetallic utensil, remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if required, by adding more hot brine. Wipe jar rim removing any food residue. Centre hot sealing disc on clean jar rim. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip tight. Return filled jar to rack in canner. Repeat for remaining cucumbers and hot brine.
  • Bring to a boil and process for 10 minutes. Remove canner lid. Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars, cool and store.