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Refrigerator Pickles

September 15, 2011

If my NY upbringing taught me anything, it is that there is nothing in this world quite like a sour dill pickle…  the kind you’d find in a giant barrel at the corner deli that they sell one at a time. Those things would bring tears to my eyes, and in a good way. Maybe the only thing that rivals that is a true NY black and white cookie. We may have a terrific food and wine culture out here on the left coast, but we still can’t figure out how to make a GREAT black and white cookie. But I digress.

I THOUGHT the cucumber plants were starting to slow down, finally. But they’re cranking out cucumbers so fast, that as soon as I turn around the plants are loaded again. No doubt you’re getting sick of them. So I thought I’d share some tips for how to deal with the big pile of cukes that have accumulated in the bottom drawer of your fridge.

I wish I could share the secret recipe for how to make those big sour dills that are so lovely they make you want to cry. But I have no idea. We experimented a little earlier this year with fermenting baby cucumbers in a ceramic crock for about a month, and the results were pretty darned good. But nothing to cry about.

So I’m going to share the next best thing, which needs no equipment, just some time, some spices and a couple of old mason jars.

REFRIGERATOR PICKLES – makes about 5 pint jars.

  • 8 cups  cucumbers, sliced and trimmed (or peeled if the skins are tough). 1/4 inch slices.
  • 2 cups white vinegar (you could use apple cider vinegar)
  • 2 cups water
  • 6 tbsp pickling or canning salt (do not substitute regular salt… pickling salt is cheap, and you won’t get the same results with a coarser grind).
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp pickling spice (you can get this in the bulk spice section at Fred Meyer or New Seasons, or make your own: cinnamon, bay, mustard seed, whole allspice, coriander seeds, whole peppercorns, ground ginger, dill seeds, cardamom seeds, hot pepper flakes, whole cloves).
  • 7 tsp dill seeds (or use 5 heads of fresh dill, if you can still find any).
  • 5 tsp mustard seed
  • 2 tsp whole black peppercorns
  • 5 garlic cloves, halved (optional)
  • 1 hot pepper sliced, seeds removed (optional)
1. Put cucumber slices in a large glass or stainless steel bowl and set aside.
2. In a big saucepan, combine vinegar, water, pickling salt, sugar and pickling spice. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve salt and sugar. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes or so.
3. Pour pickling liquid over cucumber slices and set aside until cooled to room temperature (about 30 min).
4. In each jar, divide up dill seeds, mustard seeds peppercorns, garlic and hot pepper.
5. Add cucumber slices to jars (don’t overfill).  Ladle the pickling liquid into the jar, covering cucumbers, but leaving a half-inch head space from the top of the jar.
6. Apply lids and allow to marinate in the fridge for at least 2 weeks. Use them within 3 months.
 Voila! Pickles!
(Or you could cheat and just add cucumber slices to the pickle jar in your fridge. They’ll eventually turn into pickles, too!)
2 Comments leave one →
  1. Penny permalink
    July 11, 2012 6:17 pm

    i felt for your lament about not being able to duplicate black & white cookies, so here is a link to a recipe you might want to try…be sure to read comment #2 under the recipe (person from brooklyn)…hope it scratches that itch!

    • nadinelew permalink*
      July 11, 2012 6:19 pm

      thank you!! i can’t wait to try this!

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