Here’s a quick recipe for easy 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. The recipe 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.
What kind of cucumbers to use
- Kirby cucumbers are perfect for pickling
- Hothouse cucumbers work well, too, cut into the right shape.
- Mini cucumbers (sometimes called Persian cucumbers) are great, too, as they’re the perfect size and shape for the pickle jar.
- Regular cucumbers are probably the least exciting, but they will work. Conventional cucumbers are a high pesticide vegetable, so at least get the organic variety if using this kind of cuke. And of course, they should be unwaxed.
Cucumber really are cooling! 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, which is good for skin, hair, and nails) that make them better for you than you might have thought!
Pickling other vegetables
Use recipe this as a template to pickle other vegetables, like carrots, zucchini, turnips, peppers. Pickled watermelon radishes are so good! 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)
- Carrot slices or spears (or whole baby carrots)
- Cauliflower (cut into small florets)
- Mushrooms (medium caps — cleaned, stemmed, and lightly steamed or raw)
- Radishes (halved or quartered) or peeled and sliced watermelon radishes
- Turnips (peeled and thinly sliced
- Zucchini (thinly sliced or cut into spears)
Recipe is adapted from 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 Kirbys, it's sufficient to cut them into quarters. Leave mini-cucumbers whole or slice in half lengthwise. No need to be scientific; for a change, you can also slice cucumbers into rounds instead of spears.
- 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, shake gently, then store in the refrigerator. They’re usually ready in 24 hours; 48 hours is that much better. These will last (if you can resist them) for up to a week in the refrigerator.
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.
If you like pickled flavors, you might also enjoy …
Here are more tasty appetizers & snacks