Refrigerator Pickles

If you are starting to get an abundance of garden vegetables, cucumbers in particular, this recipe for refrigerator pickles is a great way to preserve them! They can be eaten right away, but after a few weeks, they are tangy and flavorful but still maintain their crunch! Read more after the recipe.

refrigerator pickles from our best bites

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Refrigerator Pickles


Description

These crunchy, tangy, flavorful refrigerator pickles will become a summertime staple!


Ingredients

10 cloves garlic, peeled (and lightly smashed, if desired)
2 cups white vinegar
2 tablespoons kosher salt
several sprigs fresh dill (I ended up using about a loose cup, unchopped, stems attached)
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon coriander seed
1 teaspoon mustard seed
1 teaspoon black or pink peppercorns (or a mixture of both)
Desired vegetables (I used all cucumbers, but you could also pickle young spring carrots, scallions, green beans, asparagus, cauliflower, hot chilies, etc.)


Instructions

In a medium saucepan, bring 4 cups water to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and add the garlic. Cook for 5 minutes. Add the vinegar and salt, raise the heat, and bring to a boil, stirring until the salt dissolves. Remove from heat.

Evenly divide the dill among 2 1-quart canning jars. Divide the seeds and peppercorns between the jars. Using tongs, remove the garlic from the brine and place 5 cloves in each jar. Pack each jar with desired vegetables (I ended up using about a pound of cucumbers, but it will really vary depending on what veggies you use) until each jar is tightly stuffed.

Bring the brine back to a boil and pour it over the veggies to cover completely. Allow to cool, then place the lids on the jars and refrigerate. You can eat them in a few hours, but they’ll be better and more pickle-y in a few days. Keep these in the fridge for up to 3 months.


Notes

If you want to add a little sweetness, add 2-4 tablespoons sugar to the brine when you add the salt. This will only add a hint of sweetness. I hate hate hate sweet pickles, so I’m ill-equipped to tell you to add any more than that.

blast from the past

I originally posted this recipe almost 8 years ago right after my youngest baby was born (so if you continue reading, please don’t be alarmed, I have not recently reproduced again.) It continues to be a great way to use up all those farmer’s market cucumbers, and the snappy, fresh pickling cucumbers from the grocery store, and the cucumbers that mysteriously show up on your front porch because other people grow things like cucumbers in their gardens (meanwhile, I’m trying very hard to keep some very low-maintenance plants alive.) I don’t want to mess with the narrative too much because it’s a little snippet of my personal history–the 7-year-old below is now a 15-year-old teenager driving and thinking about dating and social justice and what kinds of colleges he wants to apply to, and the brand-new baby is now my 7-year old. But. Pickles are good. Homemade refrigerator pickles are better.

time traveling back to 2012

So before anyone accuses me of being an overachiever and blogging 2 weeks after I have a baby, let me assure you all that I am pretty much slacking in just about every way possible. I’m a tiny bit worried about my 7-year-old’s summer homework assignment where he has to write a short essay about his most favorite thing he did all summer because we have had a very slacky summer. Also, everything I’ve posted and will post between the time the baby was born and the end of August has already been cooked and photographed. This is because I nested with food instead of cleaning. Sometimes I wish that just once, I’d have the burning, overwhelming urge to clean and organize, but I don’t think I have that particular gene.

So I have this weird thing about pickles. I am pickle picky; I love them, but they have to be JUST right–not too fussy, not too spicy, and NEVER sweet, not even a little bit. I have about 10 jars of pickles in my fridge because I can never remember which ones I like. When I was pregnant (and before the debilitating acid reflux set in), I had a sudden, uncontrollable urge to make some Pinterest refrigerator pickles. I got everything I needed and then, on a whim, decided that I would likely never crave anything again, let alone refrigerator pickles, so I put them on the back burner (so to speak).

And then I got a recent issue of Food Network magazine (yeah, I don’t remember which month it was…it had tacos on the cover, though). And I saw Ted Allen’s recipe.  I love Ted Allen, like, a lot. His recipe was way less fussy than the Pinterest one. And it didn’t have any sugar in it, so I didn’t have to go tweaking anything (because I hate any sweet pickles, remember?). So I made the pickles and they were a-mazing and reminded me of the pickles that my friend Ange Jones’s mom made when we were kids and I would secretly lust after their pickle stash. 😳

How to make refrigerator pickles

For these pickles, you’ll need about 2 pounds of vegetables (I’m just using cucumbers),

crinkly cut cucumbers for refrigerator pickles

but you can use anything your little heart feels like pickling), 10 cloves of fresh garlic, white vinegar, kosher salt, fresh dill, celery seed, coriander seed, mustard seed, and peppercorns.

ingredients for refrigerator pickles
Be sure to use kosher salt. I know we say that all the time, but I really mean it here. If you use table salt, the pickles will end up way too salty. Also, the added iodine could do weird things to your pickles and we certainly do not want that crisis on our hands.

If desired (and I think you should desire it because I think it releases more garlicky goodness into the pickles), very lightly smash each clove of garlic to remove the skins. Set aside.

Prepare your vegetables–wash them, peel carrots if necessary, slice or chop anything that’s very large. I used a crinkle cutter to cut some stout little pickling cucumbers into thick slices–about 1/2″ thick, which resulted in crunchy, crispy pickles down the road.

crinkly cut cucumbers for refrigerator pickles

In a medium saucepan, bring 4 cups water to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and add the garlic. Cook for 5 minutes. Add the vinegar and salt, raise the heat, and bring to a boil, stirring until the salt dissolves. Remove from heat.

Evenly divide the dill among 2 1-quart canning jars. Divide the seeds and peppercorns between the jars.

Using tongs, remove the garlic

pickling garlic

from the brine and place 5 cloves in each jar. Pack each jar with desired vegetables (I ended up using about a pound of cucumbers, but it will really vary depending on what veggies you use) until each jar is tightly stuffed.

pickles in a jar

 

Bring the brine back to a boil and pour it over the veggies to cover completely.

refrigerator pickles from our best bites

Allow to cool, then place the lids on the jars and refrigerate. You can eat them in a few hours, but they’ll be better and more pickle-y in a few days. Keep these in the fridge for up to 3 months.

refrigerator pickles from our best bites

 

76 comments

  1. I have been searching for the perfect refrigerator pickle recipe, and I think this is IT! Can’t wait to try it. Thanks, Kate!

  2. I love love love pickles and I want to start canning but I’m too scared. This will be like canning lite! Thanks for making blogging a priority over cleaning. You can always clean later.

  3. I’m glad you explained the overachiever thing… I still am strugging with regularly making my husbands lunches and making dinner for the family and my baby is now 6 weeks…. And I totally feel guilty about my kids having such a boring summer! We had so many fun plans and ….. well I think you know how it is! Congratulations on your baby, he sure is sweet!!

  4. The only homemade pickles I’ve ever had are sweet and I’m not really a fan so I’ve never wanted to make pickles before, but these sound awesome. I might even turn it into a science experiment for my kids and do one jar with hot brine and one with cool brine and see how they both turn out.

    Also, I think “my favorite thing I did this summer was get a new baby brother” is a nice opening for your child’s essay. Then you don’t have to worry about what else you did.

  5. I knew I had dill in my garden for a reason and this is it!! Making these this week 🙂 and Big Congratulations on your sweet new baby!!!

  6. Just so you know, my newest issue of Cooking Light had a little store bought pickle taste test thing in it, and for non-sweet pickles, the Walmart brand chips were their number one choice. You apparently have very good taste in pickles!
    Also…if people would rather have crispier pickles, they could probably let the brine cool completely and just pack them with cold brine and stick them in the fridge. They will take longer to taste “pickley”, but they should still be delicious.

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