Refrigerator pickles are incredibly simple – no sterilizing jars required. Try green beans, cauliflower, bell peppers, jalapeños or onions, too!
Whenever I make refrigerator pickles, they always go fast. Always. My 11-year-old is a serious pickle lover so I make them often for her. They’re so much better than what you can buy at the store.
I don’t just make refrigerator pickles, either. I also pickle green beans, red bell peppers, red onions, carrots and jalapeños. Cauliflower is next on my list! I combine some of those, too; both green beans and carrots get spiced up with jalapeños, mix the bell peppers and onions and toss some crushed garlic cloves into a few jars.
These refrigerator pickles are so, so simple. The hardest part – for me, anyway – is anticipating just how much brine I’ll need for the amount of vegetables I’m pickling. So much depends on what you’re pickling, the way you cut it and how tightly you pack each jar. I inevitably have to make a few more batches of brine since I’m clearly not good at gauging this in advance. But it’s so quick to make another batch that I don’t really mind. And there are those rare times when I actually get it right the first time around!
I like a simple brine made with just six ingredients. Occasionally I’ll use fresh dill weed but most of the time I prefer mustard seeds and black peppercorns. I skip those for the jalapeños as I prefer straight jalapeño flavor (and I cut the sugar to about half). But you can play around with it and make it however you like it most.
What are Cukes?
Cukes and cucumbers are one and the same. Some people call them cucumbers, well really most, and others call them cukes. Either term is acceptable but you might get a blank stare if you ask a grocer where the cukes are.
Best Cucumbers for Pickling
When picking a pickle variety you want to look for a thin skin for the brine to be absorbed and a firm, dry inside for a crunchy consistency. Shorter and stockier pickles better allow for whole and spear shaped pickles. Boston, National, Bush and Kirby cucumbers all fit this criteria nicely.
Common Types of Pickles
- Dill Pickles
- Kosher Dill Pickles
- Sweet Pickles e.g. Bread and Butter Pickles, Candied Pickles
- Gherkin Pickles
- Cinnamon Pickles
- Lime Pickle
- Hungarian Pickles
Cucumber types can range frow sweet to salty and mild to hot or spicy.
The main difference you’ll find between a regular dill and a kosher dill is the presence of garlic. They both are seasoned with fresh dill.
The amount of sugar is how a sweet pickle gets its sweet taste.
Health Benefits of Pickled Cucumbers
Cucumbers are full of antioxidants, good for your digestive system and is a well-known treatment for muscle cramps among athletes, particularly the pickle juice. Sweet pickles, however, contain more calories than the dill, sour and spicy ones due to the addition of sugar in them.
How Long Do Pickling Cucumbers Last?
Pickles can be stored in the fridge for one to two weeks. Fresh cucumbers can last about two weeks if stored at about 55 degrees F. (13 C.).
- Assorted vegetables, such as cucumbers, bell peppers, red onions, carrots, cauliflower or green beans
- 2 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 1 bay leaf, I reuse this if I end up needing more
- Clean, trim and cut about pickles as desired e.g. whole, half, spears or coins.
- Pack firmly into mason jars. Set aside.
- Combine all ingredients except the pickles in a large saucepan over high heat.
- Bring to a rolling boil, stirring frequently.
- Pour over pickles in jars all the way to the top. Allow to come to room temperature, then seal and place in refrigerator.
- Pickles will be ready after a few days and at their best after about a week. They can be stored in the refrigerator for about a month.
Use a stainless steel, glass, ceramic or Teflon as high-acid foods from metals like aluminum, copper or cast iron will react with the acid and give your food a metallic taste.
For whole or half cucumbers prick the skin of the cucumber to allow brine and other ingredients to penetrate the skin.
It takes about 3 or 4 cucumbers to fill a pint (16oz) mason jar.