Summer is the season of neighbors’ and co-workers’ tomatoes and cucumbers being delivered to you without notice. So many people grow them that they come to your doorstep unsolicited. At least, they come to mine! Since I have a ton of cucumbers to deal with right now and I can’t bear to waste any, I investigated my options for using these babies. Something I’d never done before but had always been interested in was pickling, but I found the idea of canning to be intimidating and labor intensive. However, there is a way to make pickles quickly and easily! Reader, I decided to make fridge pickles.
Refrigerator pickles are ideal for smaller batches which you eat more quickly whereas “processed” pickles (ones preserved in cans) have a longer shelf life. I settled on making 4 quart jars full of pickles with garlic and peppers. I have enough for me and to return the favor to those who have bequeathed vegetables to me so far this summer.
Easy Fridge Pickles
Makes 4 quarts
6 c. apple cider vinegar
6 c. water
8 tbsp. pickling salt
About 3 lb. cucumbers (smaller, green, fresh ones are best)
8 tsp. dill seed
2 tsp. black peppercorns
8 cloves garlic (or more!)
2 tsp. crushed red pepper
Additional peppers or other seasonings as desired (I used a habanero from my dad’s garden in one jar & a dried chipotle pepper in another).
1. Chop your slice your cukes as desired (I decided on a mixture of slices and spears), cutting off the gross ends.
2. Portion your seasonings into each jar equally.
3. Pack your veggies in your jars tightly.
4. Mix the water, vinegar, and salt, and bring to a boil.
5. Pour the hot brine over the veggies, put on the lids (CAUTION: These will be hot!), and let cool on the counter.
6. When jars have reached room temperature put them in the fridge.
7. You can start enjoying them in 24-48 hours but they’ll be even picklier (Is that a word?) after a week.
Also by Samantha: Vegan Sushi and the Problem of Overfishing
Photo: Samantha Lester