Thursday, October 6, 2011

Two Easy Refrigerator Pickle Recipes (Courtesy of Rodale)

Making your own pickled vegetables at home can be easy. Many people, though, don't want to be bothered with the canning process, so I am always on the look out for recipes (usually some iteration of "refrigerator pickles") that don't require this step.

I found the following recipe for refrigerator sweet pickles on Rodale News; it was simple and delicious. It calls for cucumbers, but I've also made it using green tomatoes (my favorite) and string beans. I may try it with cauliflower next. Also, I was out of mustard seed when I initially made this; I substituted coriander seed, which worked great.

It takes about three or four days for the veggies to pickle; they'll last in the fridge for months. Feel free to add new veggies to the pickling mixture once you've eaten the original veggies.

SWEET PICKLES (makes 1 quart)
3 cups sliced cucumbers

1 cup sliced onions (or half onions and half green pepper)
1 clove garlic, peeled and sliced (optional)

1 Tablespoon pickling salt, sea salt, or kosher salt (but not iodized table salt)

1 cup apple cider vinegar

1¾ cup white sugar or 7/8 cup honey
1 Tablespoon mustard seed, whole
1 teaspoon turmeric, ground

½ teaspoon celery seed
2 cloves, whole
Prepare a quart jar with a lid by running it through the dishwasher or washing it in very hot soapy water and letting it air-dry. Any jar with a lid will do; the wider the opening, the easier. Put the veggies (including onion and garlic) in the jar. Combine the remaining ingredients in a stainless steel saucepan, bring them to a boil, and simmer until the sugar or honey is dissolved. Pour the vinegar mixture over the veggies, stirring to make sure all veggies come in contact with it. Cover jar and refrigerate.
Obviously, the above is much easier (and cheaper) if you have the spices on hand. Whenever I see people buying bottles of spices (for $4 each) to use one teaspoon, I cringe. So, here's another recipe from Rodale that requires fewer spices.
CLASSIC PICKLES (makes 1 quart)
5 medium cucumbers

1 Tablespoon pickling salt, sea salt, or kosher salt (but not iodized table salt)

1 cup cider vinegar

1 cup water

1 head dill or small bunch dill leaves

1 clove garlic (optional)
3 black peppercorns (optional)
Prepare jar as above.

For the crunchiest pickles, select firm, dark-green pickling cucumbers that have not started to ripen to white or yellow. Cut them into spears or slices, as desired (left whole, they will take a long time to pickle in the fridge).

Place the dill in the bottom of your jar, peel and crush the garlic clove (if using), and drop that in along with the peppercorns (if using), then put in the cut cucumber. Mix the salt, vinegar, and water in a separate container, stirring until the salt is dissolved, then pour it over the cucumbers, filling the jar right to the top. If you're in a hurry to enjoy your pickles, heat the vinegar, water and salt to a boil before pouring it over the cucumbers. Cover jar and refrigerate.


Anonymous said...

I hope it's not too late to comment. These sound so good, but I'm most intrigued by your mention of using green tomatoes, I guess sliced or chunked.

I have a TON (well, not really) of green cherry tomatoes. Will they work, and should I cut them in halves or would leaving them whole work out?

Chef Rob said...

Yes, your green cherry tomatoes are perfect for this!

Cutting them in half or leaving them whole is up to you, mostly depending on size. Cutting them in half/making them smaller will speed up the process.

(The photo attached to this post shows whole green tomatoes cut into smaller wedges.)

Let me know how they turn out.