I recently shared that I was making refrigerator pickles on my personal Facebook page, and I was surprised by the interest!
That’s prompted me to do a simple and quick post today!
Refrigerator pickles (vinegar-brined) are faster and easier to do than my lacto-fermented pickles (slow, salt-brined), so I often default to them instead. I tested this recipe back during the summer when we had a bumper crop of ‘Straight Eight’ cucumbers coming on, and so we picked them at 5-6 inches long for quart jars. If I let them grow to the full 8 inches, then I would cut them in half lengthwise (4″ long) for pint jars.
These days you can (almost) always find cucumbers at the grocery store if they’re out of season.
Besides cukes, for fun, you could also use green or wax beans, carrot sticks, zucchini, baby beets, etc.
Just remember: don’t substitute regular table salt for kosher or sea salt, or your recipe will go into the fail column. And, note that sweet pickles will have a sweetener added to the mix.
What you will need:
This depends on how many pickles you want to “put up”.
Choose enough clean glass jars and tight-fitting lids, a saucepan, a cutting board, and a paring knife.
Ingredients for Refrigerator Pickles:
The basic brine is vinegar and water.
How much you make depends on how tightly you pack your pickles in the jar.
- 1 cup organic cider or white vinegar (organic = non-GMO)
- 1/2 cup water
This ratio of water to vinegar is perfect and not too strong of a vinegar taste.
For every 1 1/2 cups above, add
- 1 to 2 large cucumbers: either cut into round slices 1/8- to 1/4-inch thick or cut into lengths to fit your jars by cutting lengthwise into 1/4s or 1/8ths
- Enough thinly sliced sweet or purple onion to fill in the gaps in the jars (optional)
- 1 slightly rounded TBSP Celtic sea salt or pink Himalayan salt
- A small handful of dill sprigs in each jar
- 1 peeled, halved clove of garlic per jar
- Sweetener (to suit your taste) is totally optional. Delicious with or without. 2-3 level TBSP sugar OR granular monk fruit OR honey. (see my note below directions for using raw honey)
- 1 TBSP whole black peppercorns (optional) (divided equally between jars)
- 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1/2 – 1 teaspoon turmeric powder (optional)
- To make the brine, combine vinegar, water, salt, peppercorns (and other optional sweetener and spices you want) in a small saucepan
- Over medium heat, warm the mixture, stirring until sweetener and salt dissolve
- Allow the mixture to cool down to a lukewarm temperature
- While brine is cooling, thinly slice the cucumber (and sometimes if I am in a hurry, I just cut the cukes lengthwise into 1/4s or 1/8s)
- Pack the cucumber, dill, garlic, onion tightly into your jars
- Pack as tightly as possible, because as the pickles cure, they will shrink somewhat
- Pour the cooled brine over the cucumbers, onions and seasonings to cover them
- Put the lids on the jars and refrigerate for at least 24 hours before eating
Cooks note: If you don’t have quite enough brine (depending on how tightly you’ve packed the jars with cucumber), mix together 2 parts cider vinegar to 1 part water and top up the jars with that mixture.
Note for raw honey: I use raw honey – I don’t let the liquid cool completely, but not so hot that it kills the beneficial enzymes in the raw honey. I just spoon it over the top of the pickles in the jars while the liquid is still warm to help it melt a little and shake it when lids are on tightly).
Store refrigerator pickles
Pop them into the fridge and consume within three weeks from when you made them.
The cucumbers will start off bright green. You will know when they have cured because they will become darker and more “pickle-colored” as the flavors develop.