My friends Wendy and Roger gave me a big bag of freshly-picked cucumbers today.  It’s great to have friends who are excellent gardeners AND love to share their harvest.  Unfortunately, I am leaving tomorrow for a week and need a fast way to preserve the cukes.  Refrigerator pickles to the rescue!  These pickles are quick and easy to make, require zero special equipment, and last up to three months in the refrigerator.

A note about two of the ingredients listed.  First, pickling or canning salt.  Some have asked if they can sub regular salt or kosher salt.  You could, but there is a reason people use pickling salt.  This salt is free of anti-caking agents, which can cause the pickling liquid to turn cloudy, and iodine, which can darken the pickles.  For the prettiest pickles, it’s worth seeking canning or pickling salt.  I find this salt at many grocery stores and it lasts forever in the pantry.  Second, Pickle Crisp.  This is sold in little, plastic containers near the canning supplies.  It is a crisping agent that uses calcium chloride, a naturally occurring salt found in some mineral deposits, to help keep the pickles from becoming soft.  Both ingredients are sold in most well-stocked stores and worth finding for refrigerator pickle success.

Refrigerator Pickles

Makes two quart jars or four pint jars

6 cups sliced pickling cucumbers (I use the thickest setting on a mandolin)

1 sliced white onion (I use the thickest setting on a mandolin)

3 cups white vinegar

2/3  cups sugar

2 tablespoons pickling or canning salt

1 tablespoon Pickle Crisp (see above)

1 tsp black mustard seeds

1 tsp yellow mustard seeds

  1. Sterilize glass canning jars and lids
  2. Distribute cucumbers and onions in jars leaving a 1″ headspace
  3. In a medium stainless steel saucepan, combine vinegar, sugar, salt, Pickle Crisp, and mustard seeds.  Bring to a boil.  Allow to gently boil for five minutes.
  4. Ladle hot pickling liquid into jars to cover vegetables, leaving a 1/2″ headspace.  Apply lids.
  5. Allow to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours (or up to two weeks for the best results).  Pickles will keep in the refrigerator for up to three months.

Recipe modified from Easy Zesty Bread and Butter Chunks found in the Ball Canning Book.