Virginia Chunk Sweet Pickles

4.93 from 14 votes
98 Comments

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Virginia Chunk Sweet Pickles are crisp, sweet, tangy and perfectly delicious. A real childhood favorite of mine, and you’ll love them too!

Virginia Chunk Sweet Pickles

These Virginia Chunk Sweet Pickles are truly a taste of my childhood. Anytime we would visit my Aunt Echo and Uncle Larry, they always served these pickles along with dinner (my favorite was when they served them with roast and potatoes). They were always sweet, crisp, and perfectly delicious. In my honest opinion.. no other sweet pickle even compares. A special “THANK YOU” to our Aunt Echo for sharing this recipe with us! I am so excited to share it now with you.

Perfect Pickles Take Time

If you take a look at this recipe, you can see these little babies take about two weeks to make from start to finish. But that’s what makes them so good! You can’t rush perfection. The good news is, for one whole week you don’t even tough them,and the next week you only need to spend a few minutes a day working on them. The actual time you actively spend making the pickles really isn’t that much. Trust me, they’re totally worth it!

Tips for Making Sweet Pickles

  • Use four to five inch size pickling cucumbers. You’ll need about 75 for this batch.
  • You are going to need something big to put the ingredients in while brining. A large food storage bucket works great.
  • If you’re making these pickles in hot weather, you’ll need to skim the top of the bucket daily.
  • Follow the steps listed in the recipe card carefully. We will hold your hand through the whole process and I promise they’ll turn out perfectly!
  • If you plan on canning these pickles, make sure to process the bottles in a hot water bath for ten minutes after the whole process is through.

What to Serve with Sweet Pickles

Eat these plain right out of the jar (no judgement) or alongside any of these recipes. We hope you enjoy these little tangy sweet bites!

Virginia Chunk Sweet Pickles

4.93 from 14 votes
Virginia Chunk Sweet Pickles are crisp, sweet, tangy and perfectly delicious. A real childhood favorite of mine, and you'll love them too!

Prep Time 7 d
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 7 d 20 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 75

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Make brine with 2 cups salt and one gallon of water. Boil mixture and pour over cucumbers while still boiling hot. Weigh down cucumbers to keep them under the brine (don't let them float to the top). Let stand for one week. In hot weather, skim daily.
  • Drain and cut cucumbers into chunks.
  • For the next 3 mornings make a boiling hot solution of one gallon water and one tablespoon alum powder and pour over the pickles. Make this fresh hot bath each day for three mornings (draining each day and giving a new solution each day).
  • On the fourth morning, drain and discard alum water.
  • Heat 6 cups vinegar, 5 cups sugar, ⅓ cup pickling spice, and 1 tablespoon celery seed to boiling and pour over the pickles– allow to sit overnight.
  • On the fifth morning drain this liquid off, reserving it, and add to it 2 cups more sugar, heat again to boiling point and pour over the pickles.
  • On the sixth morning drain liquid, reserving it again, add one more cup of sugar, and heat to boiling.
  • At this time, pack pickles into sterilized canning jars and fill within 1/2-inch of top of jar with the boiling liquid, seal at once.
  • If you are wanting to can and store for long-term, process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 141kcalCarbohydrates: 33gProtein: 2gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 2454mgPotassium: 482mgFiber: 2gSugar: 29gVitamin A: 222IUVitamin C: 10mgCalcium: 81mgIron: 1mg

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About the author

Erica Walker

Erica lives in Boise, Idaho with her husband, Jared, an attorney, and her beautiful three girls. Beyond the world of recipes, she loves adventuring with everything from kayaking, to cruising, to snowboarding and taking the family along for the thrill ride.

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Comments

  1. 4 stars
    Question. After the initial week with salt brine, it calls foe alum and boiling water bath for 3 days, each day driving them. Do they sit in the water alum overnight then drain and repeat?

    1. Yes, that’s right. You want to drain them each day and then replace the water and alum. Hope this makes sense!

  2. I am 67 yrs old,and found this recipe in a Kerr canning book in the late 70s,I too think this is the best sweet pickle recipe ever, I can never find enough little cucumbers to make these anymore.Janice

  3. What a surprise to find these online. We, too, have this recipe written down word for word. My mother copied it down from her Aunt Zina. My mother’s copy has pickling spice crossed out and replaced with stick cinnamon. Also, I remember Mom making these and putting a dinner plate on top off the crock, with a brick used as the weight. I’ll be starting these tomorrow.

  4. 5 stars
    Erica, I found my Mom’s recipe for Virginia Chunk Pickles, my most favorite of her homemade pickles. I want to make these pickles but decided to do online research because these would be my first “aged” pickle. I chose your link at the top of the Google page. While reading through your recipe, imagine my surprise when your recipe was word-by-word identical to my Mom’s including the directions. I wonder what was the original source of this vintage recipe that someone in your family and my Mom copied from some 60 years ago. I’m giving it a try and I’ll get back to your blog to comment about how I did.

  5. tomorrow I will be making the sugar and vinegar spices to pour over the pickles, my question is the one gallon of water and Alum just did cover the pickles so does this 6 cups of vinegar and sugar and spices need to cover the pickles as it will not. So is it supposed to cover the pickles, if not can I make 2 batches of this and pour over the pickles to cover them Thank you

  6. 5 stars
    Great pickles, I only question is the time line to make them. Here is your timeline.
    Prep Time7 days, Cook Time20 minutes and Total Time7 days 20 minutes. After reading the recipe you poster I came up with 13 days. Your step one is
    1. Make brine with. Boil mixture and pour over cucumbers while still boiling hot. Weigh down cucumbers to keep them under the brine (do not let them float to the top).
    “”Let stand for one week””. In hot weather, skim daily.
    So if you have a 7 day week the time line is 13 days. With a 5 day week the time line is 11 days. So I have always done the 13 day time line and my pickles turn our awesome. So to get the pickles done with your time line your week is just 1 day.

    Am I reading your recipe wrong?
    John

    1. **EDIT**

      I apologize for the earlier incorrect comment. I have changed the recipe to be more clear. The whole process should take 13 days. First, a whole week just soaking in the brine and then another six days for the next steps.

        1. Hi! I apologize for the earlier incorrect comment. Please see the edited comment for clarification:
          **EDIT**

          I apologize for the earlier incorrect comment. I have changed the recipe to be more clear. The whole process should take 13 days. First, a whole week just soaking in the brine and then another six days for the next steps.

          1. I,m sorry but they need to put in this a simple number is it 5 day week or a 7 day week, would it not be much easier to just say soak in brine 7 days drain and cut , then the 3 day process of Alum, then the 3 day process of the sugar and spices then can them, I have my pickles in the brine now and really confused as to what to do next. I,m sure I will figure it out and they will be great but this is very confusing

          2. I am so sorry that it isn’t written clearly. I have been workshopping it, but I will keep trying! What you said above is correct, it is brine for 7 days and then drain and cut.

          3. No reason to apologize, I have made these pickles for years and the recipe was different then the one I use. So I was just asking sorry if it came off different. The only difference is I use cheese cloth for my pickling spice, I also make my own pickling spice. I have shared it here if is ok with you?

            Homemade Pickling Spice

            Ingredients:
            • 2 tablespoons whole mustard seeds
            • 1 tablespoon whole allspice berries
            • 2 teaspoons whole coriander seeds
            • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste “fresh if you have them”
            • 1 teaspoon ground ginger “Fresh if you have it”
            • 2 bay leaves, crumbled “Fresh if you have it”
            • 1/3 crushed Nutmeg Nut
            • 6 whole cloves

            Directions:

            Place mustard seeds, allspice berries, whole coriander seeds, and red pepper flakes into a small glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake to combine. Add ground ginger and crumbled bay leaves shake again. Seal and shake to combine. Mixture can be stored in the tightly sealed jar for up to 1 month without loss of flavor.

            “PLEASE NOT THE ABOVE DIRECTIONS ARE FOR ALL DRY INGREDIENTS. WHEN USING FRESH OMIT UNTIL THE DAY YOU USE THE SPICE MIXTURE”

            Cook’s note:
            • I have begun putting my spices in cheese cloth I find it to be better for my family and me.
            • Experiment with different spices “I left out Cinnamon because my wife is allergic to it” That is where the nutmeg came from.

  7. I had to triple the salt & water ratio in order to cover the 75 pickling cucumbers. 6 cups salt to 3 gallons water. They are pushed down with plates and just under the brine. Do you think this will turn out okay? Thank you

    1. Yes, it should still be ok. The important thing is that the pickles are all completely submerged in the brine. Hope this helps!

  8. what a great . MY grandmother made these pickles using what seems to be the same recipe in the as I recall in late 1940s until she passed in 1963. MY aunt then made them until a stroke left her seriously disabled in 1998 after which the recipe was lost or forgotten by the cousin generation.
    Thanks to your blog we have it back. Your site is a national treasure.

  9. My Husband’s mom made the best sweet pickles! She passed away before anyone got her recipe. I’ve been looking for this for years. So very glad to find this. It looks to him like the same way his mom made them! Thank you!

  10. 5 stars
    I’ve been making this recipe for 3 years now. Have them in the crock right now. It’s am amazing recipe and I’m so glad I found it.

  11. Hello, did you ever substitute Alum with pickle crisp or pickling lime? I am wondering if that would work the same.

    1. I’m not familiar with those so I can’t say for sure. You might have better luck googling this one… hope this helps!

  12. Will this recipe fit it a 5 liter fermentation crock? Amazon is bring mine on Monday! Yay.
    This sounds like the pickles my grandma used to make.

    1. I think it should! If it doesn’t, you can adjust the recipe down a little, using the same ratios.

      1. We haven’t but that sounds delicious! Let us know how it turns out if you try it!

  13. Thank you Erica for your info. I wanted to hear back before I made them. I will be starting next week!

      1. My mother made these for years until she passed. I had thought about them every time I made a tuna sandwich. She had the ingredients written down but no instructions. This is now my second year making them and they are just as I remembered. Thank you!

  14. I would like to make these but have some questions.
    It seems it takes almost two weeks for the brining process. The first instruction says the first batch of brine you pour over cucumbers then let them set for a week?
    Then the following week, on each day up the sixth day, you continue to brine before you can come them. Almost 2 weeks for the whole process. Is this correct?
    Also, what did you use to weigh my down your cucumbers in the container to keep them from floating to the top.
    How do you adjust the ingredients is you don’t have 75 cumbers?
    Thanks

    1. Hi Russ- Yes the process is very long but worth it! The recipe is correct. If you don’t have 75 pickles you can adjust the recipe by hand or a third if you need to. Just make sure your pickles are always submersed in the brine. Also make sure you keep the brine cool (room temp is fine), you just don’t want to leave them outside on a hot day. To keep the cucumbers from floating up you can use a glass baking dish or you can use a wide colander with something heavy like a bowl. I have a heavy ceramic lid that I use that is about the width of my brine bucket and that works great. Hope this all helps!

    2. What happens if you miss a day of the end of the process and you don’t get the brine with the sugar added and boiled and poured back on for the second time and your delayed getting them canned by a day?

      1. I’m not exactly sure what you are asking. Are you just off by one day? As long as your pickles aren’t soggy, you should be fine. You should be able to pick up after the day you missed and continue with the recipe.

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