Sunday, July 29, 2012

Fresh From the Garden: Easy Refrigerator Pickles



I love simple and easy recipes for fresh produce, so when I came upon this recipe and method for refrigerator pickles I jumped on the pickle bandwagon. I’m new to pickling, but my lemon cucumbers are at their peak so I used them for my first pickle experiment.

(To see the recipe scroll down beyond the  photo below)

What are refrigerator pickles?
Refrigerator pickles are kept in the refrigerator since they are not processed and sterilized through a canning method. The vegetables used for these pickles are usually raw, but I found that using blanched green beans works really well and is a nice addition to the cucumbers.

All it takes to make up a quick batch is to measure out the water and vinegar into a jar, add salt and sugar, add spices to your liking, then add the vegetables. Refrigerate for a couple of days and enjoy. Daphne, from Daphne’s Dandelions blog, says that the pickles will last a few months prepared this way.

Another huge plus is that you can add vegetables to the jar as they ripen so you don’t have to fill the jar right away. Just prepare the pickle juice with the spices, refrigerate, and add vegetables as you have them available.

That's my kind of easy!

Lemon cucumbers love to climb

Here is Daphne’s method from her blog -

Daphne’s Easy Refrigerator Pickle Recipe

1. Combine in a quart jar:

¾ cup water
1 cup vinegar (rice vinegar is my favorite mild vinegar and works well in this recipe)

2. Add and stir to dissolve:

1 tablespoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar

3. Add spices and flavorings. I used:

2-3 whole cloves
½ teaspoon whole coriander seeds
2 or more sprigs of fresh dill or tarragon
1 small red onion, quartered
2 or more peeled garlic cloves

4. Add cucumbers:

3 – 4 lemon cucumbers, quartered lengthwise
Optional: blanched whole green beans, ends trimmed

Cover the jar with a lid and refrigerate for a couple of days to allow the spices to flavor the vegetables.

The spices I used in my version of her recipe resulted in tasty pickles but there is a lot of room for experimentation and trying a variety of spices and flavors. Use herbs and vegetables right out of your garden or  have fun foraging at your farmer's market for produce to use. 

The green beans are especially good – I cooked them in boiling water for only a couple of minutes, drained them, then added them to the prepared jar. They were crisp, tender and delicious.

A plate of fresh, chilled, pickled veggies makes a refreshing summer appetizer or is perfect for picnics, and as a garnish for salads.

You'll most likely enjoy them as a snack right out of the jar - they're a perfect taste of summer.

The Lemon cucumber vines trellised up into my Lemon Queen sunflowers

Photos: Patricia Larenas, Urban Artichoke


2 comments:

  1. I've heard some scary stories about people using canning equipment, so I've been a little reticent of sterilizing bottles and taking any chances of burning myself with the hot water baths, but freezing or pickling is perfect for me. All you have to do is prepare the produce, fill the container and then freeze or refrigerate! Much easier (and safer) than traditional canning methods, in my opinion.

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    1. Yes it's much easier than canning, but keep in mind that your refrigerator pickles have a limited "shelf-life", and if your vinegar is mild (rice vinegar), they last less due to low acidity.
      Keep that in mind but enjoy!

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