Preserved Cucumbers


Preserved Cucumbers

  • Servings: 12 - 16
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Naturally preserved cucumbers


  • About 8 small cucumbers (or other veg if you’re feeling adventurous)
  • 1½c boiling water
  • 2T coarse sea salt (not iodised table salt)

Herbs of your choice e.g.

  • ½t whole peppercorns
  • ½t mustard seeds
  • ½t whole cloves
  • 2-3 bay or lime leaves
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
  • A few sprigs of fresh thyme
  • Chilli to taste – I used just the tip of one, without seeds


Put the salt and boiling water in a heat-proof jug or bowl and stir until the salt dissolves. You need to let the water cool completely again so do this an hour or so earlier than you plan to do the actual preserving.

Wash the cucumbers and cut off the tops and tails, then halve them lengthwise. I also did some whole and they taste the same, but I find them easier to manage when they’re halved.

Put half your herbs and spices into a clean jar. Put the cucumbers into the jar, packing them in lengthwise, and add the rest of the herbs and spices on top.

If you happen to have a handy little plastic gadget to keep preserves underwater, place it on top. If not, cut a half cucumber in half again, this time cross-ways, and lay the two halves on top of the other cucumbers, flat sides down. Your aim is to keep the other cucumbers underwater, even if you need to throw away the top ones eventually.

Pour the cooled brine into the jar to completely cover the cucumbers, preferably by at least a few centimetres. Then put the lid loosely on top, so the contents can breathe a little.

Leave them like this, not in the fridge, for a few days. After a couple of days you’ll notice bubbles rising through the water and the water becoming slightly cloudy, which tells you the fermentation process is happening. I haven’t yet experienced this myself but if a bit of mould forms on the water surface, you can just scoop it off.

If the weather is hot, try a sample after 3 days to see how it tastes. It really is a matter of preference how long you leave them – I found mine tasted good to me after 6 days (autumn weather). When you’re happy with the taste, put the lid on properly and store them in the fridge. Some recipes say they only last a week but I’ve had some in the fridge for nearly 3 weeks now and they’re absolutely fine. Just use your discretion – if they smell, look or taste funny, throw them out.

Enjoy with eggs, avocados, salad, cheese, smoked salmon, chicken, veggies or whatever else takes your fancy.

Note: To get a pickle or two out the jar, use a clean fork (you don’t want to add any extra bacteria to an already fermented condiment). When you’re done, make sure the remaining pickles are still covered with liquid and store the jar back in the fridge.


© Alexandra Lawrence and Inspired Nourishment, 2015



  1. Oh wow Alex, this sounds too delish, and am definitely going to try out when I get some baby cucumbers. And the probiotic factor is an absolute must, especially in this household as Stan has been on MEGA doses of the anti B’s. Love from me Deirdre.


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