Pickled Cucumbers

Pickled cucumbers overhead view

The other day I stood in front of my kitchen window, looking down upon the street that runs in front of my apartment. Boyfriend and the cats were napping in the other room, and my world was quiet but for the humming of the ceiling fan and the occasional whoosh of the cars on the street below. It was a quiet, late summer Sunday afternoon, with few people in sight, as I stood, eating pickled cucumbers straight from the jar, and missing my great-grandmother deeply.

I was ten when she died. Some of my most poignant memories are of her telling me “Thank you, baby” as I would hand her something – be it the butter from across the table or a Christmas gift wrapped in my clumsy, childish manner. I can still hear her saying those words to me almost 15 years later.

But on that afternoon, as I ate pickled cucumbers made from her recipe – a recipe that my family has made every summer – I missed those late summer Sunday afternoons that I didn’t get to spend in the kitchen with her. I missed her wealth of knowledge from which I never got to draw. I longed for those opportunities to stand with her and bake cornbread and hear her stories.

The other day I stood in front of my kitchen window, eating my great-grandmother’s pickled cucumbers straight from the jar, and in doing so felt deeply connected through space and time to a woman who, through her love and her legacy, has shaped so much of who I am.

I love you, Ma-ma. I can’t wait to bake cornbread and eat pickled cucumbers with you someday.

Pickled cucumbers

{Sorry, Momma, for making you cry.}

Pickled Cucumbers
Yield: 1 quart jar
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1-2 sliced cucumbers, onions, green peppers, etc.
  1. Place 1-2 sliced cucumbers, onions, green peppers, or any combination thereof in a jar or bowl.
  2. Combine the sugar, vinegar, and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Pour over the sliced vegetables. Add fresh dill to taste, if desired. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Store in the refrigerator.



  1. Candace says

    This is so sweet, & such a precious way to remember your Ma-ma. I love the magic way that food & special recipes help us stay connected to important folks long after they have left us. I still think about making homemade peach ice cream in the summertime with my Papaw, then being rebellious with him & eating it out of a big cup instead of a bowl like normal people.

    Thanks for sharing this!

  2. says

    Aww, Steph! So sweet!

    I have a feeling that your Ma-ma and my Meemaw are making pickled cucumbers in heaven right now :)

    You know she’s with you right now. Who else is fueling your love of the kitchen? :) xo

    • says

      Ma-ma would have been QUITE relieved to find a fellow southerner, you know. I’m pretty sure that even in Heaven she would not be particularly interested in kicking it with yankees. 😉

  3. says

    YO! My next Tahoe Quarterly article is about the health benefits of fermented foods, so I’m totally following your pickeling instructions and getting on my cucumber….errr…I mean getting my cucumber on? 😉

  4. says

    I feel like my head’s in a little fuzzy place right now. I miss my great grandmother too (but, since we’re English, she was just ‘great grandma’) and in the corner of my mind, I’ve travelled back to my ten year old self, sitting right across the table from her playing ‘Consequences’ for hours (a pen and paper game that I’ve continued playing since). She made trifle with a condensed milk jelly, the recipe for which has been lost in the dark of time somewhere. My grandfather, her son, has now also passed on. I feel like there’s a big hole in my heart where they used to be. No more dancing in the kitchen with tea towels to Frank Sinatra, or giving stifled hugs near the fireplace like only the English can. I loved them, so much. Now only letters and memories remain. I’m so glad that you can uphold beautiful traditions like this. Recipes and meals are treasures that can transport you back in time. I know that your grandmother met you right there by the window, crunching on cukes by your side xxx

    • says

      I don’t actually do any canning, so I don’t feel comfortable telling you yes or no on this. You might google similar recipes to see if anyone has canned them before.


  1. […] Pickled Cucumbers Where do most of your recipes come from? A lot of the recipes on my site came from my great-grandmother, passed on to me from my mother. They are old family favorites with a lot of history and love behind them, and I love sharing them! (Example, my great-grandmother’s pickled cucumber recipe.) Aside from that, most of my recipes are my own, with a few adaptations from cookbooks or magazines thrown in on occasion. […]

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