Last post I wrote, I mentioned that we had recently gone for a two day visit to my son and daughter in law in Tennessee. Beyond the fact that they made us sleep in the worlds most uncomfortable bed and I think my body was wrecked for life because of it, there was at least the consolation of good food 😛 I did teach the boy to cook, after all. Okay, so I stink at teaching anyone to cook because I hate when anyone hovers. He learned by watching and learning to appreciate food. Yeah, that’s the ticket. 😀
One of the things he made was some refrigerator pickles. I love to can, but have never made pickles because they seem to be too much trouble, plus I’ve heard horror stories about home canning them. For some odd reason, it never occurred to me to try refrigerator pickles. But, he had made them and I tried them out of politeness. And loved them. Usually, I’m really picky when it comes to pickles; bread and butter ones are about it and then, not very often. After looking at the recipe however, these seemed so easy, so foolproof, that I wanted to give them a try.
While keeping the brine basically the same, I DID change it up enough to make it my own and the great thing about this recipe is that you can do the same. I wanted them to be a touch sweeter, plus I added some sliced onions to the jars to give them a touch more flavor. I threw some hot pepper flakes in one of the jars to give them a kick and I think those are my favorites. Sweet, vinegary, spicy, perfect for just grabbing from the jar for a quick bite. A couple of my cucumbers had gotten mushy, so I only got 3 and a half pints out of this. With the full 2 lbs of cucumbers, plan on a full four pints. These will keep for weeks in the fridge, but I promise, they won’t last that long. These would also make great hostess gifts or if you can find some decent cukes in the Winter, good Christmas gifts.
You know the drill… 🙂
I am posting this how I made them, but feel free to change up the spices, add in some sliced zucchini or whatever veggie you’d like (cauliflower, maybe?), add some hot peppers, more of a favorite spice, some dill… you get the idea. Make these YOUR pickles. Just keep the basic brine the same with respect to vinegar, water and sugar. The brine is simple to make if you need more brine.
Quick & Easy Refrigerator Pickles
- 2 lbs firm, small cucumbers (I used a 2 lb bag of small “salad cucumbers” from WalMart), thinly sliced (do that how it makes you happy. I did chips, but you could use a mandolin to slice long ways for sandwich slices.)
- 1 cup thinly sliced onion
- 1 cup vinegar (I used cider- use white if you want a sharper flavor)
- 1 cup water
- 2/3 cup sugar (plain white sugar) (if you want a pickle that is less sweet, you can make it 1/2 a cup instead)
- 1 tablespoon pickling spices (in the spice section of the grocery store; or with the canning supplies)
- 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard seed
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (If you don’t want to put it in the whole batch, just sprinkle some in the jar you want spiced up after you add the brine)
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- Get out four pint jars and scrub them thoroughly with soap and hot water. Dry them and then pack each one tightly with the cucumber slices and onion, or whatever veggies you’re using.
- In a medium pot, combine the rest of the ingredients (remember, hold off on the red pepper flakes if you don’t want the full batch to be spicy). Stir, then bring to a full rolling boil.
- Carefully pour the brine over the contents of each jar (remember, you can easily boil up some more brine if that isn’t enough), filling to near the top of the jar, trying to make sure the veggies are covered. Cap the jars with clean lids and bands, let cool, then refrigerate for at least 24 hours to let the flavors develop. I went into the fridge and gently shook mine up a few times just to make sure the top veggies were getting brined too.
- Eat. Enjoy. Serve plain, on burgers or sandwiches, use in potato salad, etc etc.