Easy Pickled Cucumber Recipe with Fennel Flowers

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Here’s an easy pickled cucumber recipe, for when cucumbers are at their very best.

Every August we get an overabundance of flowering fennel. It takes over quite a large corner of our garden. However, rather than dig up the bulbs to eat, the flowering fennel is something we want to keep. The bees and wasps absolutely love it. As well as helping wildlife, attracting wasps to our garden helps keep our caterpillar population at a minimum – companion planting for the win!

Kilner jar of pickled cucumber with fennel

Fennel is in season from June until September in the UK, so I like to use fennel fronds in cucumber salad in the summer. Cucumbers are also in season from June through to September, so overlap with fennel season quite nicely. Served with feta cheese, they are delicious. However, I’d never done anything with the fennel flowers before.

I’ve always wondered if I could perhaps share the fennel flowers with the bees and wasps. As such, I thought about pickling cucumbers with fennel instead of traditional dill. I gave it a go and was pretty delighted with the results. So delighted in fact, that I thought I’d share the pickled cucumber recipe with you.

collage with three cucumbers and yellow fennel flowers.

The fennel gives the pickled cucumber that extra flavour hit. And the good thing is the pickled cucumber recipes uses only a few fennel flower heads so there will be plenty left for the bees and wasps!

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What You Need To Know Before You Start

bowl of sliced cucumber

Before you get started, make sure you have enough jars to hand. I made one large jar and five small jars of pickled cucumber from the three cucumbers I used in this recipe. I was surprised at just how many jars three cucumbers would take.

You also want to ensure your lids are vinegar-proof – meaning there isn’t any metal that can touch the vinegar. If you don’t use vinegar-proof lids, the vinegar can react with the metal lid. This would give the pickled cucumber a metallic taste, which is something you want to avoid

pickled cucumber with fennel in glass jars

If you’re using old jars that you’re recycling, then look for lids with a plastic lining in them. The good thing is if you’re using jars that previously contained any pickle, chutney, mayonnaise, or tomato sauce then the lids are sure to be vinegar-proof. The only lids I’ve seen which aren’t vinegar-proof tend to be lids from honey jars. Kilner clip jars are also good for pickle making.

Easy Pickled Cucumber Recipe with Fennel Flowers

adapted from Debora Robertson

Easy Pickled Cucumber Recipe with Fennel Flowers

This delicious and easy pickled cucumber recipe with fennel is so easy to prepare and perfect for adding a touch of summer flavour to any meal.
Print Recipe
Kilner jar of cucumber pickle
Prep Time:15 minutes
Cook Time:10 minutes
Total Time:2 hours 10 minutes


  • 3 cucumbers
  • 500 ml cider vinegar
  • 400 ml white wine vinegar
  • 120 ml water
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoons peppercorns
  • 6 garlic cloves finely sliced
  • 2-3 tablespoons salt


  • Slice the ends of off your cucumbers and discard, then slice the cucumbers into coins, roughly 1.5cm thick.
  • Sprinkle salt on a plate and cover the plate with one layer of the slices of cucumber. Sprinkle salt on top of that layer then add another layer of cucumber on top. Continue salting and layering your cucumber until all of your cucumber has been salted. I ended up using two plates. Leave for two hours to macerate.
  • Whilst you are waiting on your cucumbers to macerate it’s best to make the pickling brine. To do this it’s really easy – simply add the vinegars, water, sugar, garlic slices,, mustard seeds and peppercorns to a pot and heat gently over a low heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Once you’ve done this leave this mixture to cool.
  • After about 1 hour and forty minutes sterilise your jars and lids. To sterilise jars see this guide to sterilising jars.
  • Once your two hours is up rinse the salted cucumbers and pat dry with clean tea towels.
  • Place the cucumbers into your jars and evenly divide your fennel flowers between the jars. Pour the brine over the cucumbers and fennel, leaving just half a centimetre from the lid of the jar. Seal and leave in a cool dark place for 48 hours at the absolute least, but preferably a week. The longer you leave it the greater the taste, so patience really is a virtue!
  • The jars should keep for around 3 months unopened. If you want you can place your sealed jars in a bath of boiling water for 5 minutes to process them – this should mean they will keep for around a year, unopened. They do soften a bit using this method.
  • Once opened, keep your pickles in the fridge and use within a fortnight.
Servings: 6 jars

Serving Ideas

slices of cucumber on a baking tray

Pickled cucumber can be enjoyed in a multitude of ways. We’ve found that it works well as a topping in a veggie burger, in place of a gherkin, in sandwiches, with cheese, in salads, or my favourite – straight from the jar!

I hope you enjoy this easy pickled cucumber recipe! It’s definitely a firm favourite in our house! Do let me know if you find other tasty ways to enjoy it.

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