As someone who constantly finds themselves in the kitchen, I am a firm believer that everything always tastes better when you know you made it yourself. Sure, it might not be a gourmet meal you can get at the fancy restaurant downtown, but you put your heart and soul into those chicken and dumplings, or in this case, refrigerator pickles. While traditional pickling can take up to weeks to take, these fast refrigerator pickles are ready by the next day, making it a fun project to do over the weekend with your family and friends.
How to Make Refrigerator Pickles
What makes these pickles different than traditional pickles is the shelf-life. Pickling was originally created to extend the life of vegetables and can preserve the pickles for months. Refrigerator pickles, however, are solely for the taste, and only last a week at best before the vegetables begin to break down. And the best part about this easy recipe is that it is very customizable. Have a bunch of radishes, green beans, or zucchini hanging out in your fridge? Add them to mason jars and whip up a quick apple cider vinegar brine. Refrigerate and you got yourself some homemade pickles.
Pick out the Veggies
The most popular pickling veggie is the almighty cuke, but you don't have to stop there. Jalapenos, cauliflower, and even bell peppers make great and easy refrigerator pickles. If you like eating it raw, you can pickle it.
Simply clean your canning jars or quart jars and pack your veggies in tight, leaving about 1/2-inch of space at the top.
Make the Brine
A ratio of 1 part vinegar to 1 part water is the simplest brine recipe you can get. Use whatever vinegar tickles your fancy (white vinegar is pretty neutral in flavor) and add in sugar to taste as well as any flavorings like mustard seeds, red pepper flakes, fresh dill, black peppercorns, celery seed, and garlic cloves. You should also add a hefty pinch of kosher salt to the brine as well.
Bring the brine to a boil in a medium saucepan and dissolve the sugar and kosher salt. Remove from the heat and pour the vinegary brine into the jars and seal the jars with a lid. That's it! Unlike pickling, this quick pickle recipe doesn't require a water bath. Wait for the jars to come to room temperature and place them in the fridge for at least 24 hours.
With almost a non-existent prep time, making your own pickles at home couldn't be easier. The first time you taste your crisp pickles, you'll be asking yourself why you didn't make this yummy recipe sooner.