Refrigerator pickles are kind of like entry-level preserving for those of us who aspire to be like Martha Stewart, but don’t have the time, patience or domestic staff.
I started making them last year with a bumper crop of CSA pickles and zucchini and had so much fun, instant gratification and praise that I have kept going. I actually entered them in the Long Island Fair last fall, but the jar cracked and put me out of the running (wardrobe malfunction of the foodista variety). I will try again next year (so don’t even think about trying to enter this recipe on your own!).
These are a really popular item at BBQs and nice hostess gifts for wherever you are going to have dinner. By all means play around with the ingredients; I think turmeric is crucial, but leave it out for a more pure dill flavor.
And really, they don’t take more than 30 minutes to get in the jars if you arrange your ingredients ahead of time. Use labels to keep track of ingredients and Best By date (they keep about 3 months in the fridge).
2 lbs medium Kirby cucumbers, sliced (I prefer spears, but you can also do rounds. Zucchini can also be substituted. Do not eliminate turmeric if using zucchini)
1 medium onion, sliced thin
6 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed (1.5 cloves per jar)
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp whole mustard seed
1 tsp turmeric (This stuff stains! Careful!)
Several sprigs fresh dill weed
4 whole dried bay leaves (1 per jar)
1 1/3 cups brown sugar
13 TBS distilled white vinegar (approx ¾ Cup)
13 TBS white wine vinegar (approx ¾ Cup)
1.5 Cups water
- Divide cucumber and dry ingredients (except sugar) evenly between four quart jars with lids.
- Stir together brown sugar, vinegars and water.
- Pour vinegar mixture into the jars, screw on lids and shake well to combine. (Don’t worry if there doesn’t seem to be enough liquid to cover. The contents shrink after a day)
- Cover and chill. You can start eating them after 24 hours and they will keep up to three months in the fridge. Eat the onions too!