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Jul 29, 2010

Erin's Refrigerator Pickle Recipe

This cucumber is perfect for pickling, minus the mating squash bugs!
dark green, spiny, not too big

I have had a couple of requests for my refrigerator pickle recipe, so rather than put it in the comments section, I will post it! I'm kind of a crunchy pickle snob, pickles always sounded so gross to me growing up, but I tried my first pickle in New York City, need I say more? I still can't bring myself to even try store bought jarred pickles, I don't want to taint that beautiful 1st pickle I ate over 10 years ago! I am always on a mission for crunch in my homemade pickles!

Garlicky Hot Dill Cucumber Pickles
*small recipe makes 2 pints*

1.5 cups Plain White Vinegar
1.5 cups Sugar
1/2 tsp Pickling or Kosher Salt
1/2 cup approx Dill
1-2 per jar Garlic Cloves
1-2 per jar Hot Pepper (any fresh hot pepper you are growing)
Cucumbers, enough to fill 2 jars

Let's Make 'em!:
1. Slice ends off cucumbers (unless they are baby dills) and slice to fit in the jar
2. Place washed dill leaves/flower heads in each jar around the edge to show them off!
3. Place 1 or 2 whole peeled garlic cloves around the outer edge in each jar
4. Place whole pepper in jar (I use fish peppers, cayenne or similar would work!)
5. Bring vinegar, sugar & salt to a simmer (not boil)
6. Pour liquid over the vegetables and leave headspace in the jar (more for spillage protection since you aren't canning them)
7. Cap and refrigerate! In about a week they will be ready and flavorful. Will keep about 2 months this way in the fridge.

Personal Experience/Notes:
*Use cucumbers that are still small and dark green with lots of spines for the crunchiest pickles. I use a Japanese Climbing cucumber that is picked when about 4 inches long and 1 inch or less in diameter (usually!) (most mushy pickles are due to cukes being too big/overripe, if it's yellow or whitish, use it for something else!)

*Note that refrigerator pickles do not need copious amounts of salt, so they are great if you are watching your salt intake like me!

*I use both dill leaves if I have them and the whole flower heads, as much as I can cram in there!

* I use whole, peeled garlic cloves, but you could crush them slightly if you want faster garlic infusion

* I place one whole hot pepper per jar, you could try more depending on the heat of your pepper

* You could experiment with other herbs and additions like onions, but if clarity of the liquid is a feature you are going for, the above recipe will produce crystal clear jars that really show off the vegetable!

* I pickle carrots and beans the same way - a mixture of yellow and green beans is gorgeous to look at and eat!

* I don't worry about placing fresh grape leaves in the bottoms of my refrigerator pickles, they only seem to make a difference in keeping the crunch of long-term canned pickles.

Dilly Beans made with the same recipe, use leftover cut herbs to make a salad vinegar, too!

For those that don't/can't have a garden, or who receive CSA shares as their primary produce provider, these are a great small-batch easy way to preserve food. You can pickle vegetables you find at the farmer's market while they are in season to enjoy later without all the hassle of canning, this recipe only takes 25 minutes start to finish, and that included me walking the garden to harvest the ingredients!


  1. AWESOME! Thanks girlfriend. :)

  2. Funny I was going to search for a recipe after I was done here...you saved me some time on Google, thanks!

    Just a reminder that we are getting near the end of the kinderGARDENS series and I'm urging everyone to link up as often as possible with their best posts. Soon the judges will be looking them over!

    Have a happy Thursday! Kim

  3. Sounds good. Are they noticeably sweet?

  4. Zero sweetness! I'm one who's never even tried sweet pickles since I don't like sweet stuff! Very spicy hot!

  5. Well they look good, but probably would go uneaten in our house due to the zero sweetness AND spicy factors.

  6. Kelly, you could just omit the pepper - the ratio of vinegar-sugar is pretty much standard for dill pickles. Finn surprised me, he loves them with the pepper in it! I guess technically mine are Kosher Dill since they have garlic added. They taste like fresh cucumber with an added kick/bite to them. They are the kind you would usually find in a deli.

  7. I am definitely going to try these with the first small, prickly cucs I can steal from the vines. Thank you very much! Can hardly wait. (Have to let them sit a week in the refrig, eh?)

  8. Thanks for sharing Erin! I wish I had seen your post last night as I made refrigerator and kosher dill pickles from recipes I found on the web.

    Just to clarify - you don't dilute your vinegar with water?

  9. Thomas, right, no added water! Some people use store bought pickle spice mixes and I think they have to add water to the mix, but mine uses none. The more diluted the mixture, the softer the pickled vegetables become.

  10. Just getting to these...oldest son and I are making them as we type! I'll let you know, Kim

  11. BTW...just added a review on StumbleUpon for this post. Kim

  12. Hi Erin, still up to my eye balls in preserving, it is after midnight and needed a good pickle recipe, since for 10 years now my pickles have failed - i came right to your blog, knew you wouldn't let me down, thanks for posting - what happens to the pickles after 2 months? will be back to catch up later, peace

  13. Rose, hope it helps! I did them again a few weeks ago with less sugar, even more pepper and liked it even better - but I'm a HOT pickle girl, not sweet!