Pretty much any southerner of a certain age knows ‘The Pickle Story’ episode of The Andy Griffith Show. You know, the one where the prospect of having to eat Aunt Bee’s homemade pickles drives the good gents of Mayberry to extraordinary lengths to avoid that fate. Loving store-bought pickles myself, I was wary of trying to turn my annual abundance of cucumbers into homemade pickles, both because I was well-steeped in Mayberry lore as a kid and because I thought pickling must be hard.
Well shut my mouth. Thanks to my friend Karen, I am now a huge fan of making quick, easy, and freakin’ fantastic refrigerator pickles – crisp, with a zesty garlic-dill flavor. Today I’m going to share the recipe for refrigerator dill pickles and take you through the simple process of making them at home. These are so easy to make, I’ll frequently pickle just a quart at a time – whenever I have 3 or 4 extra cucumbers from a harvest.
What you’ll need for 1 quart (or 2 pints) of pickles:
- Quart glass jar with lid (or a couple of pint jars)
- 3-4 cucumbers cut into spears
- 1-2 cloves of garlic (depending on their size and how spicy you like your pickles) cut into quarters
- Few sprigs of dill
- 1 tsp. mustard seeds
- ¾ c. white vinegar
- 1 ¾ c water
- 1 TBSP kosher or other coarse salt
- 1 ½ tsp sugar
What to do:
Bring the vinegar, water, salt, and sugar to a low boil for a minute or two, until everything is dissolved into a brine.
While that’s heating up, put the cucumbers, garlic, dill, and mustard seed into the glass jar. You want to pack the jar fairly tightly, and arrange the dill and garlic among the cucumbers. I just pour the mustard seed on top at the end.
Once the jar is packed and the brine is made, pour the brine in the jar to cover the cucumbers completely. Close the jar and let stand on the counter until it reaches room temperature, then put it in the fridge. That’s it! Quick AND easy.
One quick note: if your garlic turns blue in your pickle brine do not fear! This is a natural reaction between chemicals in the garlic and the acidity of the vinegar, and in many food cultures that blue color is highly prized. I also eat the pickled garlic right along with the pickled cucumbers – sooooooo tasty.
Refrigerator pickles are good for 4-6 weeks, but they never last that long at my house – ha!
Thank you, Karen, for opening up a whole new world of homemade pickles to me! I hope some of you will try this easy project and enjoy your cucumber harvest in a whole new way.