Homemade pickles has always been on my list of things to make “someday when I have extra time.” I had imagined canning pots of boiling water and special equipment. I had envisioned stressing about using the exact amounts of acidity so that I didn’t get my family and friends all sick with botulism. One day, when I truly do have more time, canning is something I would like to try. But for now, since I really don’t enjoy following recipes or stressing about equipment or perfection, I’m enjoying the refrigerator and freezer methods of small batch canning.
When we planted our summer garden about a month ago, the one thing my pickle-loving children wanted to grow was a “pickle plant” – more commonly known as a cucumber plant. So we picked up a pickling cucumber transplant at the nursery and put it in our garden bed. It has taken off and already given us about 5 perfect cucumbers. The girls were so excited to watch the little cukes grow and boy do they grow quickly once fertilized. Naturally the kids were eager to make pickles. After a little research I discovered that we could make refrigerator dill pickles without any special canning equipment. We have now made several batches as more cucumbers have ripened. I was amazed at how quick and easy it is to make refrigerator pickles. Refrigerator dill pickles require no cooking and take about 5 minutes to assemble in a jar. So easy, in fact, that I have no problem making a jar every week as the “pickle plant” gives us more and more cucumbers.
Homemade refrigerator dill pickles are tangy, crunchy, and flavorful. They add delicious flavor to sandwiches and salads, and make a great snack on their own. You can play with the flavor by adding herbs, onions, lemon, more garlic, or turning up the heat with extra pepper.
We made 1 jar with distilled white vinegar and 1 with organic apple cider vinegar. The white vinegar results in a more traditional pickle flavor and a crystal clear jar of pickles. The apple cider vinegar results in a jar that is a little bit murky, but also more nutritious.
Pickling cucumbers work well (of course!) but you can also use English hothouse cucumbers (the long ones that come in plastic) or Kirby cucumbers. Slice your cucumbers thinly, but any way you would like – crosswise into rounds or lengthwise into sandwich pickles.
Since refrigerator pickles are not preserved with the traditional canning method, they cannot be left in the pantry like grocery store pickles. Keep them in the refrigerator and us within one week.
Easy Refrigerator Dill Pickles
Make 1 jar of refrigerator pickles the easy way!
- 1 cup water
- 3 tablespoons white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon pickling salt (or kosher salt)
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed or sliced
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard seed
- 5 sprigs fresh dill
- 2 pickling cucumbers, or 1/2 English hothouse cucumber, sliced
- Place water, vinegar, salt, garlic, red pepper flakes, peppercorns, and half the dill in a pint-sized canning jar. Stir to combine.
- Add the cucumber slices to the jar and top with the remaining dill. Cover the jar with the top and shake to combine.
- Refrigerate. Your pickles will be ready in about 2 days, but I like them even just a few hours after sitting in the brine! These are not preserved pickles and cannot be left in the pantry. They should keep for about 1 week in the refrigerator, though ours are usually all eaten within a few days. Enjoy in sandwiches, on salads, and as a snack.
Yield: 1 jar
Prep Time: 5 mins.
Total time: 5 mins.
Tags: summer, garden, cucumbers, pickles
Recipe adapted from the Kitchn and Brown Eyed Baker