Introduction: Easy Refrigerator Pickles

So it's hot, the garden is bursting with a bounty of cucumbers, and you don't have
a pressure cooker. You don't have a set of canning jars, you don't know the first
thing about making pickles, but you want some. What to do?

With a glass bowl, a saucepan, a pile of cucumbers and a few other ingredients
including spices, a fun and tasty batch of pickles is just four days away!

And yes, for those like myself who have issues with patience sometimes, waiting
four days is not absolutely mandatory. Come along, let's make Easy Refrigerator Pickles!

Step 1: Let's Look at the Recipe...

As with almost all of the cookbooks I've collected, this recipe came
from a book found in a second hand store. So often, I find great books
tossed to the curb simply because they aren't the latest, greatest, or
hottest thing off the printing press from the next celebrity cook. I'm proud
to say I have quite an extensive library of cookbooks, but the most expensive
of all only cost a few dollars at most.

This recipe produces a pickle that is reminiscent of a bread-and-butter pickle, though
not as sweet. Of course, that may be resolved by simply adding a bit more sugar
to the recipe, your choice.

From the Cooking Light Annual Cookbook from 2008, (it is common courtesy, and
often a matter of copyright, to credit your recipe source) I present to you:

EASY REFRIGERATOR PICKLES

6 cups of pickling cucumbers, sliced thin (or according to your preference)
(This is usually about two pounds)

2 cups of thinly sliced onions
1 1/2 cups of white vinegar
3/4 cup of white sugar
3/4 teaspoon of salt (Kosher, if you have it)
1/2 teaspoon of mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon of celery seeds
1/2 teaspoon of ground Turmeric (adds great color!)
1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper (yes, that stuff from the pizza place)
1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
4 cloves of garlic, sliced very thin, or pushed through a garlic press



Step 2: Gather Your Ingredients...

To reduce clutter, and eliminate the potential to forget an ingredient, or even
to prevent dropping a salt shaker into a bowl of batter below a cabinet, I prefer to gather
all of my ingredients before beginning any recipe.

Many fast-food restaurants offer nifty little plastic cups for carryout condiments.
With a slight touch of inner hoarder, I've collected and saved many of these cups
for just such an occasion as this. Grab a few lids while you're at it, and you can
easily prepare in advance if you are not quite ready to cook.

After measuring out all the spices, grab a few onions, a head of garlic and a bottle
of white vinegar. We're going to make brine!

Step 3: Harvest a Few Pounds of Pickling Cucumbers...

If you don't have a garden full of vegetables, consider visiting
your local farmer's market in search of pickling cucumbers.
Generally, pickling cukes are are shorter, smaller, and often knobby.
Crisp, bright green and white skin is not mandatory, but typical of
this snappy little veggie!

No one is going to judge you for buying cucumbers at the grocery store.
Sometimes it happens.

Step 4: For the Gadget Lovers...

There are a few gadgets in my kitchen (pffft, that is an understatement) 
that I use rather frequently, a mandoline being one of them.

MANDOLINE (note the letter 'e' on the end) - not to be confused with a mandolin, which is a
musical instrument. These are very valuable kitchen tools when you have a lot of thin slices
to make, but are slightly fond of your fingertips.

Typically, a mandoline has an adjustable dial for various thicknesses. This gadget makes
slicing vegetables an absolute breeze!

Step 5: Prep the Veggies...

Cut the ends from each onion, remove the skin, and slice very thin. If you desire super-thin
slices of onion, consider using a mandoline, also known as a slicer.

It is not necessary, or even suggested, that you peel the cucumbers, though you might
consider removing a bit of each end. Though some people don't mind the blossom or end
nubs, I'm not one of them. Using caution, carefully cut the cucumbers into thin slices. Yes, you
may cut them slighter thicker if you wish. It is entirely up to you. Another option is to use a
mandoline if you have one. See step 4 for more detail about mandolines.

After slicing all of the cucumbers and onions, combine them in a large glass bowl in layers
of half the cucumbers (three cups), half the onions, (one cup) and repeat. Remember, you'll
need to have enough room in the bowl for the brine.

Cut the garlic into tiny little slices, though you may also simply send the cloves
through a press if you have one. Set the garlic aside to be added to the brine process in step 6.

By all means, feel free to add other veggies! Only because I did not have any on hand did I
not include various colors of super-thin sliced pimentos, jalapenos, carrots, etc.
They only add to the beauty of your pickles.

Step 6: Create the Brine...

In a small saucepan, combine the vinegar and all of the following, (and
remaining) ingredients:

3/4 cup of white sugar
3/4 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon of celery seeds
1/2 teaspoon of ground Turmeric (adds great color!)
1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper (yes, that stuff from the pizza place)
1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
4 cloves of garlic, sliced very thin, or pushed through a garlic press

Stir the brine well, and bring to a boil. Allow to cook for one minute.

Step 7: Pour the Brine Over the Veggies, Mix Well...

After you have removed the brine from the stovetop, pour it over
the onions and cucumbers. Be sure to mix it well. If your brine
doesn't quite cover the cucumbers, you can always put another
glass bowl on top, press down, and wrap the bowls tightly with plastic
wrap to keep the top bowl forcing the cucumbers to be submerged
in the brine.

Allow the mixture to cool, then cover and refrigerate for four days.
Approximate yield is seven cups of pickles.
These pickles may be stored in the refrigerator for up to one month.

If your large glass bowl is taking up as much room as mine did in the
refrigerator, after it has completely cooled, you may transfer the pickles
and brine to a plastic container if you desire.

Step 8: And, of Course, the Nutritional Information...

And what does an image of lettuce have to do with pickles?
Well, nothing, actually, but I needed a picture for the health tab.
Lettuce is green. And green is usually healthy, right?

For label-obsessed foodies, this is yet another wonderful feature of the
Cooking Light books, they tell you what you are eating!

Here is a partial low-down on the pickles you've just made, assuming
you stick to the 1/4 cup serving size:

Calories: 28 (10% from fat)
Fat: 0.1 grams (polyunsaturated)
Protein: 0.3 grams
Carbohydrates: 7 grams
Fiber: 0.3 grams
Cholesterol: 0 milligrams (yeah!)
Iron: 0.1 milligrams
Sodium: 64 milligrams
Calcium: 7 milligrams

Enjoy!

Comments

author
ttowngirl (author)2014-07-11

Fantastic. I have pickle addicts in my house. Darned pickle-heads!

author
mediamaker2000 (author)2013-10-29

Well done! *applause* A new favorite!

author
nanaverm (author)2013-07-17

Enjoyed your humorous and clear instructions, and your mouthwatering photos.

author
WUVIE (author)nanaverm2013-07-17

Aw, thanks, Nanaverm!

author
onemoroni1 (author)2013-07-16

I have wanted to do pickles for the longest time and this is easy.

author
WUVIE (author)onemoroni12013-07-17

Thank you! I just ate a bowl full a little while ago. LOL.

author
Ranie-K (author)2013-07-13

Great photos!

author
WUVIE (author)Ranie-K2013-07-16

Hi Ranie-K, thank you so much!

author
bajablue (author)2013-07-14

FAVED!

author
WUVIE (author)bajablue2013-07-16

Baja, thank you so much!

author
lifesart (author)2013-07-16

Thanks for a great post with really great pics! I'm a pickle afficianado and I'm going to make these this weekend. Mmmmmmmmm!

author
WUVIE (author)lifesart2013-07-16

Thank you, Lifesart. :-)

author
jjinyancey (author)lifesart2013-07-16

Lifesart, If you are up for the EASIEST sweet pickles: purchase a gallon of sliced dill pickles, drain and rinse the pickle slices in a colander and place in a large glass or ceramic bowl. Add 11 cups of sugar (I know...but they ARE sweet pickles!) This is about 5 lbs. of sugar. Add 2 cups of apple cider vinegar and gently stir. Purchase some pickle spices (I get mine from an internet spice co. called Pensey's; you can purchase a big bag, and it will last you a long time. if you can't do that, I suppose you could use the spices combination from the above post.) Cut about 4 six to eight inch squares of cheesecloth, and put 2 T.of the spices in each square = 8T. Bring the corners up and tie off with little rubber bands. Add the spice bags to the pickle bowl and gently stir again. Let the pickles sit out on the counter all day or overnight. Stir them about 3 or 4 times during this session. Make sure the spice bags are submerged in the pickle juice; it will take several hours before the sugar melts to become juice. Once the juice is "made", you can put the pickles in the frig for 2-3 days to get them cold and crisp. Serve them out of your gallon jar, or for more convenience, split the mixture into 4 quart jars, making sure each jar has a spice bag in it. Remove the spices at the end of seven days, and your pickles are ready to eat or give away! They are WONDERFUL and will last for weeks, but they must be refrigerated. Just don't give a jar to your preacher or your brother-in-law: they will hound you FOREVER to keep them supplied! (One other little tip: I purchase small (3 x 4" drawstring "Organza Pouch" bags in the wedding decoration department at Walmart...the kind you would put little candy favors in. This is what I use for the spice bags. I just turn the used bags inside out, toss the spices, and rinse the little bags thoroughly. They will be a yellow color by now, but that doesn't matter to me. I dry them upside down on the upright handles of long spoons; make sure they are thoroughly dry before putting them away. Before this, if I had no cheesecloth, I used Handy Wipes to cut up for the bags since they have the holes in them, too.
Now you have one MORE thing to keep you busy!!! These pickles are great on sandwiches, hamburgers, chopped up for potato salad, and ground up for relish. Save the juice, too; it is wonderful in potato salad.
Go ahead and print up the recipe because MANY will ask you for it! And like Mama said, "Always share." God bless you guys.

author
funkytaco (author)jjinyancey2013-07-16

5 pounds of sugar...oh my.

author
jjinyancey (author)jjinyancey2013-07-16

P>S. You can add several Tablespoons of Tabasco Sauce to the juice before you refrigerate them (about 2 T. to each quart....according to taste. These are typically called Fire and Ice Pickles.

author
Bugsley (author)2013-07-16

Easy, and simple. I wonder if honey or agave syrup would work as a sugar substitute. Not for cutting calories, for caveman diet. Great Instructable.

author
WUVIE (author)Bugsley2013-07-16

Many thanks, Bugsley!

author
dangerine (author)2013-07-16

Are they crunchy?

author
WUVIE (author)dangerine2013-07-16

Not overly, though next time, I will cut mine just a bit thicker.

author
mobiledeb (author)2013-07-16

I am definitely going to give these a try but i felt the directions needed some tweaking. The photos were enticing 8)

author
WUVIE (author)mobiledeb2013-07-16

Hi Deb,

Tweak away. This was a recipe from a book. :-)

author
moonchylde (author)2013-07-15

Has anyone tried this with Stevia? I'm diabetic, so anything with sugar is a no-no ...

author
moonchylde (author)2013-07-15

Has anyone tried this with Stevia? I'm diabetic, so anything with sugar is a no-no ...

author
starchpoodle (author)2013-07-14

looks great, thanks for posting

author
WUVIE (author)starchpoodle2013-07-14

Thank you, Starchpoodle! (Love that name, LOL)

author
antoniraj (author)2013-07-14

nice... looks great

author
WUVIE (author)antoniraj2013-07-14

Thank you, Antoniraj! :-)

author
zurichko (author)2013-07-14

If I wanted dill pickles would I use less sugar and add dill? Would I need too cook the dill in the brine?

author
WUVIE (author)zurichko2013-07-14

Hi Zurichko,

I've not actually made any refrigerator dill pickles, so I can't vouch for what you should add, but I did find a few recipes which are similar in nature:

http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/refrigerator-dill-pickles

http://www.almanac.com/video/how-make-refrigerator-dill-pickles

Hope this helps. :-)

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