Sweet and Sour Pickle Sticks

In the 20 years we lived in the country and had a huge vegetable garden, I made every type of pickle, many of them prizewinners at the county fair, but this is my personal favorite and the only pickles that we ran out of before canning season came around each year.  The cucumbers can be cut in any shape – slices, spears, or small ones could be left whole – but fairly thin sticks were always cut for these pickles.

I used to put up 20 or 25 jars during the summer, but since I’m alone now, I make up a small batch to last through the summer barbecue season.  This recipe makes 3 one-pint jars.


  • 6 medium sized pickling cucumbers (not the waxed type found at the supermarket), enough to fill 3 pint-sized Mason canning jars
  • 1-1/4  cup plus 2 Tblsp. white vinegar (5% acidity)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 Tblsp. pickling salt
  • 1 Tblsp. celery seed
  • 1 Tblsp. plus 1/4 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 tsp. mustard seed
  • 2-1/4 cups granulated sugar

Cut cucumbers into strips and pack into sterilized jars.  No need to peel, but trim off the ends.  The freshest cucumbers make the crunchiest pickles.

In a large saucepan, combine vinegar, water, pickling salt, celery seed, turmeric, mustard seed and sugar.  Bring to a boil – then boil 5 minutes longer.  Pour over the cucumbers in the jars, leaving 1/4″ headspace.

Wipe jars clean, put lids on jars and process in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack before storing.  I’ve found an asparagus steamer is good for processing just a few jars.  Let cure for 2 weeks before using.  

This is a good web site for information on canning and preserving foods.

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Lillian Applegate Westfelt was a mother of 4, grandmother of 6, and great-grandmother of 3. She was an 86-year-old widow living in a nice little bungalow with her oldest daughter and a beagle-dachsund named Addie. She passed away in November, 2018.

7 thoughts on “Sweet and Sour Pickle Sticks”

  1. Hi, I’m going to try your pickle recipe when my cukes in the garden are ready. I put your address in my “blog Roll” so I can see it more often. thank you.

  2. Thanks Lillian, I’m going to try that come summer. I like the tip re the asparagus steamer, I have one and it will be much easier to use with it having the rack in it – brilliant idea. I never make that much that I need to get the big pan out.

  3. Lillian, Thanks so much for the sweet & sour recipe but also for down sizing the recipe for those of us by ourselves or small households.

  4. I know this is an old post, but I’m hoping I’ll still get a response. 🙂

    Can you describe what sweet and sour pickles are like? I generally make dills, bread and butters and tongue pickles. Are these like a bread and butter? Or completely different? Thank you.

    Your website is so filled with information from a time nearly gone by. Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us!

    1. I think sweet and sour pickles are similar to bread and butter pickles as far as the flavor is concerned. The recipes seem to vary according to a particular spice or ratio of vinegar and sugar.

      If you’re already making three kinds of pickles, you’re probably an expert and know what your family likes. My family likes sweet pickles so we all count the “Sweet and Sour Pickle Sticks” as a favorite.

      Thank you very much for your nice comments. Lillian

  5. Kick them up a notch and sprinkle a few crushed pepper flakes in one or two of your jars and see how you like them! Go easy or go heavy on the peppper flakes. I personally like easy!

    1. That sounds wonderful – to sprinkle some pepper flakes on the pickles. Thank you for visiting my blog and for commenting. Lillian

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