I LOVE pickles. Love them. I love them so much that I have been on a mission for years to find a great pickle recipe that did not include canning.
I was raised in a practical, Midwestern family where nothing was wasted. I’ve tried to carry on the family tradition of canning and putting up, but my attempts at this were comedy at best. The end result has always been me with a red, sweaty face of frustration, and tears as hours of work went down the drain.
Then I found this crazy easy refrigerator pickle recipe, and all I could do was thank the pickle gods for finally smiling down on me. It is a great way to deal with late summer garden bounty or an abundance of leftover veggie bits.
What you’ll need:
Vegetables to pickle
Slice vegetables into smaller pieces. For more dense vegetable, slice, then blanch or steam, until almost cooked but still crunchy. Water-based veggie like cukes, peppers, onion, radish, or tomato will pickle raw. Things like green beans, beets and cauliflower will need to be partially cooked first. Some harder veggies can just be cut up really small, like carrots, which I slice into thin sticks and pickle raw.
Get creative! I love to make traditional garlic dill pickles, but you can pickle just about anything. I have been known to throw all sorts of things into pickle brine. Try cucumbers, onions, sweet or mild peppers, green beans, beets, cabbage, radishes, carrots, or my favorite: green tomatoes.
You can use whatever you have available, as long as it meets these criteria: glass/plastic, clean, has a sealable lid. I like to reuse old commercial pickle jars for large batches and Mason jars for when I am making pickles to give to others.
How to make it:
Pack your veggies into the jar loosely. You want the brine to be able to move around the pieces freely when you fill it.
Put your seasonings into the jar. Use whatever you want to customize for your tastes. I like to use a combo of: dill seeds, mustard seed, whole peppercorns, coriander seed, hot pepper flakes, or sliced jalepeno for spice, and garlic cloves (peeled, smashed, and left whole).
Make by combining the following ingredients into a large bowl at room temperature:
- 3 cups water
- 1½ cup of white distilled vinegar
- ¼ cup of sugar (I use a little less)
- 2½ tablespoons of sea salt
You will probably have to whisk it together to get the sugar and salt to completely dissolve, but it will.
Pour pickle brine into jar/containers. Make sure brine covers all the vegetables in the jar. Depending on the veggie, some might float to the surface; this is fine.
Screw lid on tightly and give the jar a good shake.
Put it in the refrigerator and forget about it for two days. After 48 hours you have pickles that are delicious and ready to eat. Keep them in the fridge and they’ll be good for up to three months. (Mine don’t last that long!)
Be sure to experiment with new veggies and flavors. I’ve recently pickled baby ears of corn with garlic and coriander, and my next pickle is going to be a spicy curry cauliflower.