Turning cucumbers into refrigerator pickles requires little effort or time. Refrigerator pickles are a great way to use an abundant cucumber crop without the canning process.
All you need for quick, fridge pickles are a non-reactive container with a cover or lid, cucumbers, water, vinegar, sugar, and salt. I prefer to make mine in a half gallon glass jar, but any size jar will do. Reused commercial pickle jars work very well. I prefer white, distilled vinegar. Apple cider vinegar works well, as does rice vinegar.
Here’s the basic recipe: Equal parts vinegar and water and sugar; 1 teaspoon salt. What does this mean? 1 cup vinegar, 1 cup water, and 1 cup sugar mixed together until the sugar dissolves, then add the teaspoon of salt. If you want more liquid, just double the amounts.
Now, for the fun part: you can flavor the pickling liquid anyway you like. Add a few cloves of fresh garlic. Add a sprig of oregano. Add a half teaspoon of mustard seed. Add fresh dill and you’ll get a sweet, dill pickle. Add a teaspoon of crushed red peppers or a jalapeno sliced in half. If you really like some heat, add a sliced scotch bonnet pepper.
Next, simply slice your cucumbers how you like them, place in the jar, and pour your pickling solution over them. Place in the fridge and wait a couple of days, then eat and enjoy. Fridge pickles will last a few weeks and are great for snacks or a quick dinner side. When you empty your jar, feel free to reuse your pickling liquid two or three times.
If you have an abundance of carrots, small onions, broccoli, cauliflower, or zucchini they can be quick pickled the same way. Just add them to the jar and wait. Carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower take a little longer to pickle, but zucchini slices or chunks take only a day or so. If you use a large zucchini, remove the seeds and pith before slicing. Feel free to mix your jar with any vegetables you have. Pickled kohlrabi taste great!
Another quick pickle favorite at my house is Sliced Cucumber-Carrot Salad.
What I did:
Slice cucumbers and carrots fairly thin and arrange on a plate, sprinkle with 1-2 tablespoons rice vinegar and ½ – 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil, add a little freshly ground black pepper and sea salt, wait 15 minutes or so, and serve. This makes a pretty potluck dish and is a great salad to serve with spicy dishes.
Be creative. Let refrigerator pickles reflect your garden and your palate.