Raw Pickles

by Susan on August 8, 2011

This week at the farmer’s market, cucumbers were everywhere! Big bushels, full to the brim with the refreshing little green cukes, beconing the market goers to take them home.  I couldn’t resist the little beauties and have been having fun with them in the kitchen.

History: Belonging to the same family as watermelon, zucchini, pumpkin and other types of squash, Cucumbers originating in India over 3,000 years ago. They were listed among the foods of ancient UR and even got a mention in the legend of Gilgamesh.

Health Benefits: Cucumbers have a dark, green flesh that is high in vitamin C and also contains caffeic acid. Both help soothe skin irritations and reduce swelling. Cucumbers also contain the minerals potassium, magnesium and silica which is essential for healthy ligaments and healthy skin! Since they are also high in fiber and very hydrating. Most of the nutritional benefits are in the skin, so buy organic, wash them well and leave that skin on.

Types: Cucumbers come in 3 different types. Slicing, pickling and burpless. Slicers are the dark green ones that we are traditionally used to seeing. Pickling (pictured) cucumbers have more bumps on the skin, tend to be more uniform in length. They are usually shorter and thicker. Burpless…well the name pretty much tells it all.

Since I love bread and butter pickles, I decided to take a stab at a raw food recipe for them. Traditional recipes are based on vinegar and a lot of sugar. I substituted raw cider vinegar and agave. You can try this recipe with other sweeteners, too. Just add the sweetener to the vinegar a little at a time until it tastes balanced.

While pickles can be made from any cucumbers, I did use the pickling cucumbers for this recipe. It can be easily doubled.

Raw Pickles

  • 4 cucumbers, sliced
  • 1/2 sweet onion, sliced
  • 2 tablespoon mustard seeds
  • 2 cups cider vinegar (raw)
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar or liquid sweetener of your choice (more or less to taste)

1. Mix together mustard seeds, vinegar and agave.

2. Put sliced cucumbers and onions in glass jar and pour liquid mixture over the top. Give it a stir and let sit in the fridge at least overnight.

These will keep for a couple of weeks, refrigerated.


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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Jenni August 9, 2011 at 8:22 pm

Yay!! I love love love pickles and am so disappointed that I didn’t feel like I could eat them – can’t wait to make these and enjoy one of my fav foods again!! Love your site and everything I have made from here has been AMAZING! Thanks for all your work :)


Anna August 10, 2011 at 4:00 pm

Just made these….they are amazing. Thanks, Susan for the wonderful recipe!


Elizabeth August 10, 2011 at 9:11 pm

Thanks for sharing this!!! I have really been wanting to make raw pickles. My kids love pickles and Bubbies are so costly and technically not raw I’m sure.
Peace & Raw Health,


Judith August 10, 2011 at 9:55 pm

Have been searching for a long time for a recipe like this, as I buy this raw from the Farmer’s Market and would rather make my own. Getting all the ingredients this weekend to make jars of pickels!! Awesome and thanks! Judith


Kelli August 11, 2011 at 1:16 am

I wonder if it would taste okay to add some salt to counteract the sweet since I’m a salty pickle fan.


Mindy August 11, 2011 at 9:32 am

OMG, Elizabeth. My husband and I love Bubbies, too! Susan, thanks for sharing! I am excited to make these and kick my Bubbies habit:)


Jo August 22, 2011 at 8:12 am

I made these yesterday, but I’m a bit worried about the amount of vinegar. Is there a healthier way to make it, with water/vingera mixture or just water/salt/spices?


Susan August 22, 2011 at 2:25 pm

Raw apple cider vinegar should not pose a problem. What exactly are you worried about? :-)


Jo August 23, 2011 at 5:37 am

I guess I have this association between vinegar and eco cleaning products, so the pickles tasted too strong for me…;-) I will try making them again with 1 part vinegar and 2 parts water or just raw cucumbers in brine. My mother gave me an excellent recipe for pears and apples in vinegar if anyone would like to try:
1 cup vinegar + 2 cups water + cinamon stick, cloves, aniseed, bay leaf; warm the mixture gently below 40C and cool; pour over a jar filled with quartered sweet pears, apples, quince and let stand for a couple of days at least;-). Thank you for reminding me of pickles!


Jo August 23, 2011 at 5:57 am

oh, you need to add sugar or agave to taste, too.


Mark G June 24, 2012 at 12:02 am

They look good but I’ve got news for you. If you’re using agave then they’re not raw. Agave, regardless of how it’s labeled, is a cooked syrup. Think of the process for turning maple sap into maple syrup. It is cooked and boiled down until it condenses into a thick syrup. Same thing with agave except they have to stop it at a point or it will be come…tequila. Yes, so agave is literally one step away from tequila. Now it really doesn’t sound raw, does it?


Susan June 24, 2012 at 8:48 am

Well, Mark, that would be correct if it was true for raw agave, which it isn’t. Raw agave is “thickened” by heating at a LOW temperature, under 118 degrees. Enzymes are also used. So, raw agave is raw. You just need to make sure you get raw agave, it will be labeled as such.


Bill June 28, 2012 at 12:01 pm

Is there a raw pickle recipe that will last into the winter once prepared? My vines are starting to produce a lot of fruit and i would like to preserve them for use as raw pickles later in the year.


janelle December 30, 2012 at 5:08 pm

I do not like bread and butter pickles but I love dill. is there a recipe for that?


Anthony Dauer September 15, 2013 at 4:27 pm

Just finished a batch. Didn’t have any mustard seeds or sweet onion. Used about half a red onion, added three stalks of celery, 3 Thai chilis, and used Persian cucumbers from Trade Joes.


Peace January 2, 2014 at 7:06 pm

You could also make pickles the traditional way by lacto-fermenting – using a pro biotic starter culture or raw home-made whey – Then there is no vinegar or added sugar and they are a great source of pro biotic food.!


Randy August 28, 2014 at 9:42 am

Why does your recipe last only a coupe of weeks? Doesn’t vinegar preserve pickles a long time?


Susan August 28, 2014 at 10:43 am

Hi, Randy, You are not doing a traditional fermentation with this recipe. So, a shorter life is expected. Cheers!


Randy August 28, 2014 at 12:53 pm

I’m not knowledgeable enough about pickling and fermentation to understand what you mean. My bottle of Bragg vinegar itself doesn’t go bad, so why won’t it preserve the cukes? Is there no way to use raw cider vinegar to produce a long lasting jar of pickles?


Susan August 30, 2014 at 12:23 pm

Randy, yes, you can make cucumbers that will last longer. A bottle of Bragg vinegar is different than vinegar added to other food ingredients in a recipe. There are many recipes online for making fermented pickles that will last longer. This is a refrigerator pickle recipe and is made to store in the refrigerator for a shorter period of time. Cheers!


Randy September 10, 2014 at 8:29 am

What happened to the comments? I was following the conversation, but this time I had to search to find the page and no comments are here anymore.

I made some raw pickles adapting a friend’s non-cook recipe which he claims last for at least 4 months. I changed his supermarket vinegar to Bragg raw, sugar to raw honey (half volume), table to Celtic salt, grape leaf where it called for alum, and used similar raw spice formula. I wonder if there’s any reason my substitute ingredients would be more perishable.


Susan September 10, 2014 at 10:31 am

I have no idea what happened to all the comments. Looking into it now.


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