If you have too many cucumbers (or other vegetables that you typically eat raw) coming out of your garden or you want to extend the season in the fall by a couple weeks, try refrigerator pickles!
These pickles require only slicing vegetables, boiling a brine, and then cooling for 24 hours in the fridge. The result is cool, crisp veggie pickles ready for your next afternoon snack.
These pickles aren’t intended for long-term storage, but for snacking on over the course of a week or so. They’re incredibly easy to make and are a great way to use up cucumbers OR any other vegetable you have in the crisper drawer!
This is a simple enough recipe that it will only take about 30 minutes of time from beginning to end, which means you can do this as a quick weekend or weeknight project or just do some double chopping and measuring while you're cooking dinner one night. Better yet, recruit a helper in the kitchen!
1 pound small cucumbers (or other veggies!)
1 small sweet onion
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
Wash and dry the jars. Wash 2, 16 oz wide-mouth pint jars, lids, and rings (or you can get great plastic lids for ball jars too!) in warm soapy water and rinse well. Set aside to dry or dry by hand. (Or, run everything through the dishwasher.)
Prepare the vegetables and onion. Wash and dry the veggies and thinly slice into 1/4-inch thick rounds. Halve and thinly slice the onion and toss the veggies and onion together in a large bowl to mix everything together evenly.
Pack the vegetables and onion into the clean jars. Pack the vegetables into the 2 jars, leaving a 1/2-inch of space at the top. Pack them in as tightly as you can without smashing.
Make the brine. Place the vinegar, water, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar.
Add the brine to the jars. Pour the brine over the veggies, filling each jar to within 1/2 inch of the top. You might not use all the brine. Gently tap the jars against the counter a few times to remove all the air bubbles. Top off with more brine if needed.
Tightly seal the jars. Place the lids over the jars and screw on the rings until tight.
Cool the jars, then refrigerate for 24 hours. Let the jars cool to room temperature. Store the pickles in the refrigerator. The pickles will improve with flavor as they age — try to wait at least 24 hours before using.
Storage: Refrigerator pickles will keep for about 1 month. If they develop any off flavors or smells, or if you notice fermentation, it's best to just discard the remaining pickles.
After your first batch pay attention to what flavors you liked and you can change your brine or your veggie combinations to suit your tastes. Change the type of vinegar you use, put more or less sugar in your brine, or add mustard seeds to your brine to make it your own!
With a small amount of prep effort, refrigerator pickles are a a quick and easy way to offer an alternative flavor to plain old raw veggies!