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. Does anyone know if you can “can” this recipe? It sounds so good I’d love to make a big batch and have jars left over for use throughout the year.

  2. So, I am totally a picky pickle eater too! And…I have to ask-I will only buy the Claussen Kosher Dill pickles, would these be in the same ball park as far as taste? I want to try these, but being so picky, I’m afraid…

  3. Cool!! I think this may have to be a mommy-son project. My 5 year-old LOVES cucumbers AND pickles. I think it’d be neat (and tasty) for him to see the transformation. 🙂 And I love that I don’t need a canner!

  4. I’ve read that grape leaves stuck in the jar keep the pickles crisp. Can’t wait to try this recipe, my cucumber plants are getting bigger!

  5. I would LOVE to attempt homemade pickles and while I’ve done some canning, very minimal, so fridge pickles sound like something I’d attempt!! My mom does a sweet watermelon rind pickle and I just cannot stand sweet pickles. What’s the point??? lol

  6. Never enough thought of attempting pickles, but you made it sound just easy enough! 😉 Also, thanks for sharing that, while you are still amazing, you are not ‘Wonder woman’ after having a baby! It makes me feel like not such a loser like some other bloggy moms do! 😉

  7. Putting these on my ‘to make’ list. Canning still freaks me out (I’ll give everyone botulism) but I like making stuff like this, refrigerator pickles or freezer jam. Sign me up!

      1. I’m freaked out by canning, too! Glad I’m not the only one scared of botulism. I just made freezer jam on Sunday and can’t wait to try these pickles!

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