June 3, 2019

Making Refrigerator Pickles

Easy to make, and very tasty.

On my last grocery shopping trip I got 15 medium sized cucumbers for 1/2 price. They were in excellent condition, so we decided to try making cucumber pickles for the first time. Now I wonder why we waited so long.

If I had known how easy refrigerator pickles were to make, I never would have bought pickles at the store. Now that I know, I may never buy them again.

I don't like that I haven't been able to buy Canadian pickles for years now. In the grocery store, my choices are pickles from the USA, or India, and I don't particularly like either of those options. Now I can add a new choice - pickles from my very own kitchen.

The thing I love about home cooking is how you can make everything to suit your particular tastes. Mass produced foods are often bland so as to appeal to as wide a consumer base as possible. 

But what if you like BOLD food? What if you like a BOLD, spicy, hot pickle? Make it yourself. 

What I discovered about pickling is that it is an extremely adaptable process. We made refrigerator pickles (good in the fridge for several weeks), but if we grew cukes, and had lots of them, we could also can them using our hot water bath canner, then keep them in our pantry for months. 

We decided not to can this time because we only made two jars, and judging by the way they turned out, they won't last long.

In pickling, the vinegar, sugar and salt do the preserving, and the spices add to the flavour. Spicing is variable and depends on your taste. There is a huge variety of spices that can be used in an infinite number of combinations, only limited by your creativity and your spice collection.

We used mustard seed, black peppercorns, dill, turmeric, crushed red peppers, and whole garlic cloves. We made the pickles in jars one day, and tried them the next. It was hard to believe how easy they were to make, how quickly they set up, and how tasty they were only 24 hours later.

There are many good refrigerator pickle recipes on the net. All you have to do is find one that suits your tastes, or take a standard recipe, like this one, and modify it according to what you have in your pantry.

Why buy bland pickles shipped from the other side of the planet? Our food should be as fresh and tasty as possible. The best way to get that is to buy the ingredients from area farmers, and cook them up in your own kitchen.

Save money, eat better. 


Do you have a favourite pickling recipe?




12 comments:

  1. I love pickling things! You're right that the ones you can buy are kind of a rip off. Pickled mushrooms, carrots, cabbage, more or less any vegetable. At the moment I'm more into fermenting though. It's even easier than pickling because you don't need to sterilise the jars. No heating of liquids either - all you need is salt and time. :)

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    1. My dad used to make sauerkraut, and it was delicious. We like the pickles we made because they don't need to be canned. Definitely going to look at doing some fermenting for that reason, plus for the nutritional benefits. Pickled mushrooms sound excellent.

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  2. When I do buy pickles, they will last for years since I do not eat pickles. Having to eat them in two weeks would not work at all. However, I do add sliced cucumber to vinegar, onion, pepper, salt, and garlic for Tommy. It stays in the refrigerator for months. I hope I don't kill him by keeping them around too long.

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    1. Refrigerator pickles (made properly and cleanly), should last many weeks in the fridge, but that isn't much of a feature if you don't like pickles. We like them, and it was fun to make our own. They should be good in the fridge for up to 3 - 6 months, although I don't think we will let ours go that long.

      Please don't kill Tommy. You would be "in a pickle" if you did.

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    2. You only really need to refrigerate them once you've opened the jar. As long as you've sterilised the jars properly and you're careful when sealing them, your pickles will keep fine just in a cupboard for months.

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  3. I just might try this. Hubs grandmother made the best pickles and I could never do mine duty, but we will have an abundant crop of cucks this year. I agree with homemade food being better. The salt they add to processed food is amazing.

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    1. The pickles we made are getting better as we go along. Have fun experimenting with your abundant crop.

      Salt, sugar, and fat in excess are the pillars of fast foods and processed foods.

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  4. Anonymous6/03/2019

    We slice cucumbers into rounds (after peeling off about 1/2 the skin). We then add rice vinegar, sugar, salt and shredded ginger. These "pickles" would easily last in the fridge for a couple weeks, but hardly last a week we eat them so fast. I don't have space or enough sunlight to grow cucumbers; we try to get them at local farmer's market but sometimes have to buy them at the store. BTW - the "we" in my note is my boyfriend...he is the cook in the house. I do the eating (yum!) and the cleaning. Works for us! - Mary

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    1. That sounds very good. The pickles, and your arrangement.

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  5. I have an aversion to vinegar. No idea where it came from, but I can't be near it without a serious reaction so I am no help here. I'm glad pickles exist because a lot of people love them! I love cucumbers and will go on enjoying those!

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    1. It is hard to beat fresh food. Vinegar is a pretty harsh substance, which is why it can be used for cleaning.

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  6. A confession: I have a serious pickle addiction. I would rather eat pickles than chocolate. In the kitchen on my wall is a print that says "Pickle Dreamin" by the artist Joe Wirtheim. I've made refrigerator pickles in the past, I'll have to try your recipe.

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