Easy Refrigerator Pickles Recipe

Refrigerator pickles - a taste of summer.
Refrigerator pickles - a taste of summer.

What a year for cucumbers this is!  I'm hearing from multiple sources that their cukes are going wild and bearing heavily.  This is true in my garden, as well, and it's welcome news.  I love fresh cucumbers, cucumber salad, cucumber water, and fresh refrigerator pickles.  The recipe in this article is my version of one that my Mom used to make.  We always had these available in the summer.  What another wonderful way to make good use of your refrigerator!

We enjoy these straight out of the jar, in salads, and in sandwiches.  For an easy, summery sandwich, layer these with homegrown tomatoes and a little mayo on your favorite crusty bread.

Homegrown cucumbers.
Homegrown cucumbers.
Quick and easy if you use "pickling spice."  The coriander seeds in this are especially yummy to crunch.  The allspice, not so much, according to my son.
Quick and easy if you use "pickling spice." The coriander seeds in this are especially yummy to crunch. The allspice, not so much, according to my son.

Ingredients

For about a pint of pickles:

Cucumbers (1 or 2, depending on size)

1/4-1/2 of a white onion

1 cup white vinegar

1 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon pickling spice

Notes:

  1. These quantities will make you one or two pints jar of pickles. You may need more brine depending on the size and shape of your cukes and onion slices, on the jar size, and on how tightly you pack your jars. You can put these into any nice glass jar with a lid, large or small. I placed some jar ideas at the bottom of this article. As you size up, just keep using the same ratios for the brine.
  2. My Mom used a mix of mustard seed, celery seed, and turmeric for her pickles. They were sooo good. I also like the pickling spice, though, and it makes this one super easy, so I stick with that. The spices can definitely be modified: have some fun with the combo and quantity!

For a big batch, use your food processor or stand mixer slicing attachment for speed and uniformity.
For a big batch, use your food processor or stand mixer slicing attachment for speed and uniformity.
Filled jars.  Left jar contains brine in second use.
Filled jars. Left jar contains brine in second use.
Finished product.  I am not a food stylist.
Finished product. I am not a food stylist.

Instructions

Peel the cucumbers and slice them thinly. If you're making a very large batch, your food processor or the slicing attachment on your stand mixer makes the slicing go very quickly.

Peel and slice the onion thinly. The amount of onion you use has a major effect on the flavor of the pickles. If you really like onions, put lots in. If you're no so sure about the onions, put only a few, but don't omit them, because they provide an important part of the flavor.

Combine the vinegar, sugar, and spices and heat until the sugar is fully dissolved. The microwave is fine for this. To make it quick, heat this up in a glass measuring cup, from which you can pour into the jar(s).

Pour a small amount (1 tablespoon or so) of the liquid mixture into your jar(s), including some of the spices, if possible. Pack the cucumber and onion slices in, layering prettily, and keeping the ratio of cucumbers to onions fairly consistent. About halfway up the jar, get some more of the spices into the veggies. When the jar is full, pour in the liquid, all the way to the top, put a lid on securely, and turn over gently a few times to further distribute the spices . Chill overnight (upright).

These keep nicely for about two weeks. I have found that if you eat them quickly, and use clean utensils to remove them from the jar, the brine can be reused one or more times. If you use a big jar with a wide mouth, you might even be able to slide some new slices under the old ones once there's room. Keep the pickles coming!

That's it. It's so easy, and these are so yummy.

Of course, you can't lose with homegrown organic produce. Here are some other recipes that will help you use up your garden bounty:

Zucchini Bisque - a quick, easy, smooth and delicious soup that may be served hot or cold, and it uses up 3 pounds of zucchini!

Zucchini Relish - an old fashioned condiment that lets you taste summertime year round.

Fig Jam - here's what to do when you have too many figs. Wait, is there such a thing?

Thanks for reading.  Please leave comments and share your spice mix experiments, if you try it out.  

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