by Tammy Taylor~
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I planted pickler cucumbers in my garden this year and they’ve been producing well. But I only planted one vine since there are only two of us at the house now & I didn’t want it to produce more than RancherMan & I could consume. So each morning I go out to the garden and pick a few 3″ – 4″ pickling-sized cucumbers and set them in the fridge until I figure I have enough to make refrigerator pickles. It doesn’t take long since I’m making them 1 quart jar at a time this year.
Now in the heat & humidity of our NE Texas summers I hate to fire up the canner so I often opt for refrigerator pickles instead. Hey, whip ’em up & toss the jar in the fridge to let them get all pickley! What’s not to love??!! I’ll let them sit in the fridge pickling for about a week or so and then bring them out of the fridge as a cooling condiment on a hot day with our supper. I prefer to enjoy my homemade pickles as dill pickles but I’ve never successfully made a dill pickle brine that I care for, so I typically use *Mrs. Wages to make the dills. But RancherMan really prefers sweet pickles instead and I do love my recipe for sweet pickle brine so I always make it up myself. I’ve found an easy way to whip up a quart of sweet pickles for the refrigerator using a recipe that has just the right amount of sweetness for him without being too sweet for me.
Easy Refrigerator Sweet Pickles Recipe
First I whip up my brine by mixing into a small saucepan: 1 cup filtered water, 1/2 cup vinegar (5% acidity), 3/4 cup sugar, 2 Tablespoons pickling spice, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1-2 cloves garlic. I stir it until it starts simmering to fully incorporate all ingredients, then turn the heat off and turn my attention to my cucumbers.
Preparing The Cucumbers
I like to pick my pickler cucumbers when they’re young & tender, about 3-4 inches long. They’ve been stored in the fridge since I picked them so now I bring ’em out & wash and dry them, cut the ends off and then use my *crinkle cutter to cut them into thick 1/2-inch slices to drop into a wide mount quart canning jar. Hey, mama always said presentation is half the dish and I want them to look pretty! Depending upon how long the cucumbers are I typically can get 3-5 in the jar.
I always add at least one grapevine leaf because it’s been said that helps keep your pickles crisp. Now I don’t know if it’s an old wives tale or not, all I’m sayin’ is that my pickles were always soft before, now they’re always crisp. Coincidence?? You decide!
Now it’s time to pour the hot brine over the pickles covering them completely and put a lid on the jar. I leave the jar sitting on the counter until it’s cool, then I wipe it down with a wet cloth to remove any sticky brine that may have dribbled onto the outside of the jar. Before I put it in the fridge I use a permanent sharpie marker to write directly onto the glass jar since I want to know what kind of pickles are inside (sweet or dill) and when I made them. This lets me know when they’ve been in the brine long enough to begin serving with our meals.
If you shy away from sweet pickles because they’re so darn syrupy sweet, you’ll love these – lightly sweet and crispy as can be. Sure I’ll share the recipe!
Refrigerator Sweet Pickle Recipe
(Per Quart Jar)
- Enough sliced pickling cucumbers to fit into a quart-sized jar (About 4-5 small cucumbers)
- Wide-mouth quart canning jar
- 1 cup filtered water
- 1/2 cup vinegar (5% acidity)
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 Tablespoons pickling spice
- 1/2 teaspoon pickling salt
- 1-2 cloves garlic
- 1-2 fresh grapevine leaves – washed & patted dry
Mix all ingredients together except grapevine leaves and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. Place grapevine leaves in bottom of a clean wide-mouth quart jar, add washed, sliced cucumbers. Pour hot brine over cucumbers, place lid on jar & let pickles sit about 30 minutes to cool, then store in refrigerator. Can taste after 48 hours but they’re perfect for us in about a week.
Use within about 3 months.
So there ya go. I’m a big believer that delicious crisp homemade pickles need not be difficult nor expensive. And since the garden doesn’t always crank those cukes out at the same rate this method works great since you can make ’em one quart jar at a time! We always have a fresh supply of homemade pickles to enjoy throughout the summer.
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