Don’t Be Put Out by Putting Up: Spiced Pickled Beets and Cucumbers

I’ve never been much of a putter-upper (as they call preserving in jars in the South, maybe elsewhere as well?), perhaps because when I buy something fresh from the market, I don’t have the patience to save it for later; I want to enjoy it now, in the moment.  But lately, with so much abundance at the farmers’ markets, and my hankering for vinegar and spices, I thought I’d try my hand at some quick pickles.  First, thinly sliced raw beets and onions with Indian-inspired spices, like star anise and cinnamon.  And some fresh small Kirby cucumbers that will turn a lovely golden hue thanks to turmeric. I like unseasoned rice vinegar or cider vinegar for pickling.  For both beet and cucumbers pickles, you can make a spice mix of your own, consider everything from star anise and cinnamon sticks to black or pink peppercorns, red chiles, turmeric, and bay leaf…If you want a ready-made seasoning packet, I like Sukhi’s spice packets, which I indicate in the recipe below.



All Photos By Kim Sunée

Spiced Pickled Cucumbers

Yield: 1 Quart Jar  |  Total time: 7 min
Print Recipe

Don't let the abundance of the season go by without preserving some of its bounty. These quick and easy pickles are gorgeous thanks to a touch of golden turmeric.


  • 4 medium (about 11 ounces) firm Kirby cucumbers, blossom end removed
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup rice vinegar (not seasoned)
  • 3/4 tablespoon sea salt (fine grain)
  • 1 (.5-ounce) packet Sukhi's Madras Vegetable Complete Spice Mix*
  • *If not using spice packet, make a .5-ounce mix of ground turmeric, black mustard seed, red pepper, and curry leaf.


  1. Keep cucumbers whole or slice lengthwise into spears. Place cucumbers in a clean, wide-mouth 1 quart jar.
  2. Combine water, vinegar, salt, and spice packet in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Bring to a low boil.
  3. Pour mixture over cucumbers, making sure to cover completely with liquid, leaving about a 1/2-inch space at top of jar. Let cool to room temperature. Seal with a tight-fitting lid. Turn upside down once or twice to evenly distribute spices. Refrigerate, right-side up, at least 1 day and up to 2 weeks.

Date Published: June 28, 2012

All recipes have been tested by the Test Kitchens unless otherwise noted.

4 comments... read them below or add one


  1. June 28, 2012 4:17 pm by Seung Hee Reply

    I love pickling – cucumbers to daikon radish, carrots, jalapeno peppers… I usually make them with 1 part vinegar, 1 part water, 1/2 part sugar, and 1/4-1/6 part salt with seasoning of choice (usually mustard seeds, celery seeds and a few dried chili peppers). I wanna try the tumeric and curry leaf version! Do you use dried curry leaf? I also want to try lime leaves!!

    • June 28, 2012 5:13 pm by Kim Reply

      That all sounds good, Seung-Hee. Yes, dried curry leaves are in the Sukhi’s spice packet. Turmeric adds such a nice golden color. I think kaffir lime leaf would be a great idea.

  2. June 28, 2012 9:41 pm by Laurl Reply

    Kim, those pickles are beautiful! I love canning- chowchow, relish, crabapple ketchup, etc. With 16 cucumber plants in the garden, I am doing half sour pickles this summer. In the frig now is a 5% salt solution with fresh dill, peppercorns and dehydrated garlic. I am slowing the fermentation with the refrigerator. It it just too hot for counter fermemtation. I am on my third round of half sours. The dill flavor was best when it was chopped before adding to the jar, but they are prettier with the whole fronds in the curled bottom of the jar like a sea creature!

    • June 28, 2012 11:50 pm by Kim Reply

      Laurl! How nice to hear form you. Oooh, chowchow. Please share your recipe. I agree about the beauty of dill fronds and I love your description. Thanks for writing.

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