Left to right: Spicy dill garlic; red pepper, carrot, and teeny tomato; garlic dill mustard
I recently discovered the magic of refrigerator pickles. I was buried in cucumbers from our CSA and I thought pickles would be a good way to get through them all, but I didn’t want to have to drag out all of the canning equipment (I don’t even have a pressure canner). Plus, the last time I made pickles they were all floppy and I didn’t even like how they tasted! AND you have to wait three weeks to eat them!
With refrigerator pickles, however, you get nearly instant gratification! This is my kind of pickle! To be honest, this is actually my second batch of refrigerator pickles, but I was too lazy to blog about the first batch and now I can’t find the recipe. So the experimentation continues, but this time I’m sharing it with you (and leaving a record so I can recreate them later if they are yummy)
Step 1: cut the cucumbers. I find I can fit about 2 cucumbers in each jar. I use wide mouth half quart jars (I think that’s how big they are anyway). They vary in size because they are organic and from our CSA, so I can’t tell you how big they are or how much they weigh. All I can tell you is that it doesn’t matter. Here’s a little tip for you: you can remove some of the bitterness by cutting off the ends and rubbing them on the cucumber. A strange white substance will appear. Keep rubbing! Rub until no more “stuff” comes out of the cucumber, then rinse it away. I have no idea why or even IF this does a darn thing, but it was an old wive’s tale where I grew up in the Midwest, and it gets results, so I feel like it’s doing something important.
Slice ’em any way you like. I prefer to eat teeny spears, so I cut the pickles in half and then each half into quarters or even eighths, depending on how big the cucumber is to start with. You can also do slices or rounds. Actually, you could make refrigerator pickles from any veggies, and you can cut all of them any way you like. I tried a jar of peppers, carrots and tomatoes (the middle jar above). I’ll let you know how it goes.
Step 2: Shove everything in the jar (See, I told you it was easy). It makes more sense to put the spices in first, but sometimes I forget and have to stick them on top (see above). It doesn’t matter. So what, exactly, are you supposed to put in there? The possibilities are endless!! Here’s what I tried this time:
In each jar put:
3/4-1 t. salt
1 1/2 cloves of garlic
1/2 t. dried dill (fresh is probably better, but I didn’t have any)
1/4 t. red pepper flakes (only in the jar on the left)
1/4 t. mustard seeds (only in the jar on the right)
Equal parts water and vinegar (I used white; apple cider is good, too), brought to a simmer on the stove, then poured over the veggies.
Stick the jars in the fridge and wait. Most of the recipes I’ve seen say to wait at least 24hours or as many as three days. I start tasting the next morning. I told you I wanted instant gratification!
Early reviews say this might be a bit too garlicky for my taste, and not salty enough. It hasn’t had much time to hang out yet, though, so I’ll get back to you.
Alright, your turn! Get out there and pickle something!