Here’s a quick and easy recipe for refrigerator pickles that I hope you’ll love as much as I do. There’s no need for traditional canning methods and equipment other than a quart jar. It takes just minutes to make, though you’ll have to be patient and let stand in the fridge for at least 24 hours to marinate.
I like to have these in the fridge as often as possible as a crunchy, nearly calorie-free snack. They’re also a classic accompaniment to serve with veggie burgers, sandwiches, and wraps.
I recommend using organic or hothouse cucumbers since conventional cukes are a high pesticide vegetable. And of course, they should be unwaxed.
Cucumbers immediately bring to mind the idea of coolness and refreshment (as in “as cool as a … “) but their high water content and occasional seediness seems to imply that they’re not stellar in the nutrition area. While it’s true that cucumbers don’t rank high in nutrient density, their high water content actually contains some valuable substances (notably silica) that make them better for you than you might have thought!
That said, don’t limit yourself to cucumbers for this preparation — the same formula works with other vegetables, as suggested following the main recipe. Adapted from the forthcoming 5-Ingredient Vegan (2019) by Nava Atlas.
- 2 medium cucumbers
- 1 long hothouse cucumber, 2 medium cucumbers, or 5 to 6 Kirby cucumbers
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 tablespoons natural granulated sugar
- 1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon dill seed, 1/2 teaspoon dried dill, or several sprigs fresh dill
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (preferably raw and organic, like Bragg)
- 2 teaspoons pickling spice
- 1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
- No matter what kind of cucumber you’re using, you'll want to wind up with 4-inch (or so) spears. Cut in half lengthwise, then in half again, or into thirds, depending on the thickness of the cucumber. For Kirby cukes, it's sufficient to cut them into quarters. Leave mini-cucumbers whole. No need to be scientific here; you can cut the cucumbers into slices instead of spears for a change, as well.
- Combine the salt and sugar in a cup of hot water and stir until dissolved. Pour into a quart jar, then stir in the garlic, dill, and vinegar. If you'd like, add peppercorns and/or pickling spice.
- Pack the cut cucumbers into the jar, then fill nearly to the top with water, covering the cucumbers completely.
- Cover tightly and store in the refrigerator. They’re usually ready in 24 hours; 48 hours is that much better if you can wait!
Don't limit yourself to cucumbers! A number of veggies benefit from the quick-pickling treatment. Try pickling:
- Asparagus spears (blanched)
- Beets (cooked and sliced)
- Bok choy stems
- Chard stems
- Carrot slices or spears (or whole baby carrots)
- Cauliflower (cut into small florets)
- Mushrooms (medium caps — cleaned, stemmed, and lightly steamed or used raw)
- Radishes (halved or quartered)
- Zucchini (thinly sliced or cut into spears)
- You can use the same liquid for another batch of cucumbers, though they’ll be a bit milder in flavor than the first batch.
- When you next make a fresh batch using this recipe, tailor the flavors to your liking — add more or less salt, sugar, garlic, and/or vinegar.