Last weekend I found myself with a couple of pounds of cucumbers from the garden, both the standard green Kirby kind and those of the lemon cucumber variety (the yellow ones in the photo). There was no way we were going to be able to eat all of them before they got soft and wrinkled, and I’d already given away several, so I decided to take my first foray into pickle making.
Not ready to get into canning, I chose to make “refrigerator pickles” which don’t require water baths, canning jars, or my irrational fear healthy respect of botulism.
After I made the pickles, I put the hastily snapped photo above on the Formerchef Facebook Page and it got such a positive response, I thought I’d share what I did for those who were interested but also new to pickling. I’m certainly no expert here, just a pickle newbie, but the results were good enough that I’ll be trying it again.
Use decent quality mild vinegar. I’ve used both basic white vinegar and white wine vinegar and had good results with both. The cooking website theKitchn said plain white vinegar was fine and while the pickles are crisp and taste great, the vinegar was a bit strong for my personal taste. Update 2020; I now used a more gentle white wine vinegar and I like it better.
Make more brine than you think you’ll need. I needed about a cup more than the original reference recipes called for.
Experiment with using some of the different seasonings listed at the bottom of the recipe below. Next time I’ll try some pink peppercorns for color and some dried dill seed for a more concentrated dill flavor.
Do you make your own refrigerator pickles? Have any tips to share?
Wash the cucumbers and scrub off any prickly bits.
Slice off the ends and then cut into spears, flat sandwich slices, or round slices as desired. Pack the cut pieces of cucumber into clean* jars with lids.
Add two cloves of peeled garlic and some sprigs of fresh dish to each jar. Make sure you leave enough room in the jar to cover with the pickling brine and leave a little space below the lid (about 1/2").
In a non reactive pot, heat up the vinegar, water, sugar, salt, pickling spice, and peppercorns. Bring to a simmer and cook until the salt is fully dissolved.
Pour the hot pickling brine into the jars and cover the cucumbers with the liquid.
Put the lids on the jars, allow them to cool to room temperature, and then place them in the refrigerator.
Let the cucumbers marinate in the pickling liquid for at least 48 hours before eating. The pickles should keep in the refrigerator for up to a month.
*I ran all my jars through the dishwasher again before using them even though they were "clean" in my kitchen cabinet. You can also dunk the jars in a pot of boiling water.**optional seasonings beyond pickling spice (link is to the one I bought on Amazon) could be red pepper flakes, dried dill weed or dill seeds, mustard seeds, fennel seeds, or different colored whole peppercorns.