Lime Pickles Recipe

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This is a recipe for lime cucumber pickles found in my vintage metal Ohio Art recipe box. The use of pickling lime gives you a nice, crisp pickle, while the sugar and clove give these pickles a unique flavor different from dill pickles.

I personally am more of a fan of homemade refrigerator pickles {they are a bit less time consuming!} – but this recipe for lime pickles sounds pretty good I just might have to try it if we get a decent size cucumber harvest this year.

This recipe requires an investment of both time and money {if you don’t already have canning supplies!} – but pickles are awesome, and besides, you can always use that canning equipment to make all sorts of great preserves and pickled items!

The Original Handwritten Lime Pickle Recipe

lime pickles recipe

The recipe was found written on an index card handwritten in blue ink.

While we were able to find numerous versions of the recipe for cucumber lime pickles, we are not sure of the original source. Most people simply write “just like my grandparents used to make” or something to that effect.

My best guess is this was a pretty common recipe, maybe found on packaging of pickling lime or even in canning recipe books.

I don’t remember either of my grandmothers ever canning pickles, although I do remember my one grandma canning LOTS of jellies and jams, especially when raspberries were full in season. We’d spend a whole week doing nothing but picking raspberries day in and day out.

How to Make Cucumber Pickles

If you are new to pickling or canning, do yourself a favor and first head over to the National Center for Home Food Preservation Website. It’s an invaluable resource of information!

Once you have an overview of how to start canning, these tips below will help make it easy!

Supplies Needed for Canning Lime Cucumber Pickles

The first thing you will need to make these pickles is the proper tools and ingredients.

First of all, you should NOT use aluminum pots for soaking the cucumbers. The aluminum can leech into the pickles, and that is not a good thing! A large ceramic or stainless steel pot is a better choice.

Next, you will need a way to can the pickles. Pickles can be canned safely using a water bath, so you can make pickles with a water bath canner {also called boiling water canner} – such as this classic water bath canner set made by Granite Ware.

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It can be helpful to have a couple of tools and accessories while canning, like a jar lifter and other tools. This set made by Norpro has pretty much everything you could need.

You will then need jars with lids. Wide mouthed pint jars like these ones on Amazon are a good option. The wide mouth makes it a lot easier to pack things such as pickles!

I like pint-size jars because you don’t feel pressured to eat an entire jar of pickles, but you definitely want to do that only if you’re cutting the cucumbers up in rounds.

If you want big juicy pickle spears, you will want to get the wide mouthed quart size jars instead – they are usually a much better size.

Of course, why even decide between the two? Get both because once you start canning it’s hard to stop and you’ll always need jars!

Now, if you are new to canning, I know what you are thinking: Darn, this stuff is expensive! Honestly, it has gone WAY up in price since the pandemic started in 2020.

I remember in 2010, I was working on a different recipe blog – water bath canning kits {which included all of the accessories} could be found for under $35. Today, you’re looking in the $$$ price range to start canning.

So yes, the prices have gone way crazy, I guess with more people cooking more and more from home than ever.

The good news? You can often find a used water bath canning kit online or in thrift shops super cheap. Chances are you have a friend or family member who bought one eons ago and isn’t even using it – it’s just sitting in a cupboard collecting dust. So, ask around first before you buy one!

If you can’t find one used, think of it like this: It’s like buying an oven, or a microwave, or a toaster. Sure, you *could* get by without an oven – but then you wouldn’t be able to bake delicious things like vintage cake recipes or delicious casseroles!

You could also probably survive without a microwave, but what about those nights you are reheating leftovers or are feeling nostalgic for some college food staples like Ramon noodle soup?

A water bath canner is pretty much the same kind of investment as any kitchen tool or appliance. With a water bath canner, you can preserve so many things – from fruits {including tomatoes} to jams to jellies to pickles to relishes.

If you want to be able to preserve all of that plus meats or vegetables, you could also look into getting a pressure canner instead. {Note: A pressure canner is NOT the same thing as an Insta Pot!}

Canning is fun and practical – so if it is something you are interested in, like I said earlier – start at the National Center for Home Food Preservation to learn how – so much good information there to help you start canning safely and make it less intimidating!

Ingredients Needed for Pickling Lime Cucumbers

There are a couple of ingredients in the recipe that may confuse or trip up those who are new to canning and pickling, so I’ll explain what they are here below:

Cucumbers: I am sure you know what a cucumber is, but it is VERY important you use the freshest possible cucumbers you can find. You also will want to use pickling cucumbers, which are smaller than regular cucumbers. Out of the garden is best, but if you are buying at a grocery store make sure they are firm. Fresh, crisp cucumbers make for crunchier pickles! Make sure they are washed first!

Slaked Lime: If you’re not familiar with pickling, you might think this recipe calls for the lime fruit. Not the case! Slaked lime is another term for pickling lime. I recommend using lime that is directly labeled for food preservation use, as this is usually better quality and you don’t have to worry about possible contaminates.

Pickling Salt: While the recipe above simply says “salt”, you’ll want to use pickling salt specifically, otherwise the juice in the pickles may turn out cloudy. Most table salts have additives, where pickling salt is more specific for pickling and being cooked at high temperatures and storing for long periods of time.

All of the other ingredients listed are pretty straightforward and commonly found in most any grocery store.

Lime Pickle Making Process

Making lime pickles is a three day process. Yes, really, three whole days. Is it worth three days to have 7 pints of pickles? {Or 5 quarts, if you are using quart jars}

Maybe, maybe not. Really depends on how much you like pickles and of course if you have the time. Of course, most of the days you don’t do much for making the pickles, so it really only takes about 2 hours to make the pickles from start to finish. {That includes washing and cutting them up!}

The original recipe card directions don’t really break it down day by day that well, so I’ve adjusted the directions in our printable recipe card below so you’ll know exactly what to do each day.

The last day is when you will cook the pickles, pack them while they are still hot into clean, sterilized hot jars, and then boil the jars in a water bath to seal the lids and effectively preserving them for later use. The pickles will be more flavorful the longer you wait to open them – so if you can be patient, give them 4 or 5 weeks before trying them!

If you are new to canning or any of this sounds confusing for you – download this free guide from the USDA first:

Guide to Home Canning

After you read that, this recipe will make a LOT more sense, I promise!

Because this recipe is an older one {my husband commented he knew it must be “old” because it was written in cursive!} – I made a few clarifications/adjustments to the original recipe to reflect current best canning safety practices.

One thing to note is that altitude matters when water bath canning. If you are unsure of your elevation, you can usually search “what is the elevation of city, state” and get a clear answer from the google.

Most people fall in between the 1,001 – 6,000 feet range, but it may be different if you live in a coastal region or in the Rocky Mountains.

Is this pickle recipe a lot of work? Is canning equipment expensive? Yes, but if you enjoy canning or have always wanted to try making your own pickles – it’s definitely one to consider trying!

Lime Pickles Recipe

Cucumber Lime Pickles Canning Recipe

This recipe for Cucumber Lime pickles makes sweet and spicy crunchy pickles, processed using a water bath canner.
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Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 35 mins
Additional Time 3 d 25 mins
Total Time 3 d 2 hrs
Course Condiments + Sauces
Cuisine American
Servings 5 quarts
Calories 916 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 7 lb fresh cucumbers washed and sliced. {You can slice into rounds or into spears}
  • 2 gallons water
  • 2 cups pickling lime
  • 2 quarts distilled white vinegar
  • 5 cups sugar {can add more sugar for sweeter pickles – up to 3 additional cups}
  • 1 tablespoon pickling salt
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 teaspoon whole cloves {Use 1/2 teaspoon for less spicier pickles}

Instructions
 

Day 1:

  • Soak sliced cucumbers in a solution of 2 gallons of water and 2 cups pickling lime for 24 hours. Do not use aluminum containers!

Day 2:

  • Drain cucumbers and rinse well three times, making sure no lime is visible on the pickles. Soak in fresh ice water for 3 hours.
  • Place the cucumbers in large stock pot {not aluminum!} Add in vinegar, sugar, pickling salt, celery seed, and cloves. Mix well and let stand overnight.

Day 3:

  • Place pickles on stove and cook for 35 minutes or until they come to a boil.
  • Prepare jars for canning by sterilizing jars.
  • Once pickles are boiling, pack hot into clean, sterilized canning jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.
  • Process for 5 – 15 minutes depending on altitude – see recipe notes for further clarification.
  • Allow pickles to cool. Jars should be stored for 4-5 weeks to develop ideal flavor.

Notes

How long you process your jars while pickling and canning will usually depend on your altitude.
0 – 1,000 feet: 5 minutes
1,001 – 6,000 feet: 10 minutes
Above 6,000 feet: 15 minutes
These canning times are based on current safety standards set forward by the NCFHP as of February 2021.

Nutrition

Serving: 1ozCalories: 916kcalCarbohydrates: 213gProtein: 4gFat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 1494mgPotassium: 883mgFiber: 5gSugar: 209gVitamin A: 458IUVitamin C: 20mgCalcium: 168mgIron: 2mg
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Have you made these Lime pickles? Share your thoughts on canning, pickling and making cucumber lime pickles below!

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