How To Make Refrigerator Pickles At Home
We were visiting my parents over Labor Day Weekend, and a well-meaning neighbor dropped off a bag full of cucumbers. I saw my mom roll her eyes, and I knew what she was thinking: “What are we going to do with all those cucumbers?”
Easy. Make refrigerator pickles!
When most people think of pickling, they envision a 10-step process that involves many hours over a boiling pot of water, with jars and lids, worrying about getting things to seal properly; but you can make pickles in the refrigerator without ever turning on the stove, and they make a delicious side to sandwiches, and a nutritious snack for kids of all ages!
Cucumbers Do A Body Good
We’ve all heard how important it is to give our kids proper nutrition, and with childhood obesity and type-2 diabetes on the rise in the U.S., it’s more critical than ever to find healthful ways for kids to snack. It’s even more difficult because most children have a palate that cries out for something sweet—I mean, let’s face it, most adults have the same craving—so why not try sweet pickles as an alternative to sugary, processed foods that have nothing beneficial to offer!
Cucumbers are comprised mainly of water, so the calorie content is minimal to begin with, around 15 calories for 100 grams. They also contain electrolytes that replenish your body’s fluids and help balance your pH. Feeling bloated? Cucumbers are a mild diuretic, so they help alleviate unwanted water-weight and high blood pressure.
Surprisingly, cucumbers contain 24% vegetable protein, so it’s not just empty eating when you wolf down a cup or more. The bright green peel offers not only dietary fiber, but different types of carotene, which fights free radicals. They also boast a generous amount of vitamin K (potassium), which can help strengthen bones, and good old vitamin C, which promotes overall wellness and helps keep your body in tip-top shape!
Pickles the Easy Way
Be sure to wash your cukes thoroughly before use. I like my refrigerator pickles to be round, but you can also quarter the cucumbers to resemble the infamous dill pickle. Cut off an inch or so from each end to remove any bitterness. If you have kids, this recipe is a terrific way to get them involved in eating healthy because they can help measure! Since these aren’t being officially canned, you can make them in plain old BPA free plastic Tupperware, or preferably glass. Jars work fine too. Make sure you have a tight-fitting lid!
- 1 1/2 cups white vinegar (I prefer rice wine vinegar)
- 1 Tbsp salt, (try the Fiori Sea Salt from Full Circle's Green Grocer...the ambrosia of flower petals adds a certain zest!)
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup sugar (try agave syrup if you're avoiding the cane variety or stevia if you're avoiding extra calories all together)
- 1-2 cloves of garlic chopped or crushed
- 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
- 1/2 tsp celery seeds
- 1/2 tsp fresh dill
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper or for extra kick, try some fresh jalapeno or habanero peppers
- Mix together the vinegar, salt, pepper and sugar, stirring until dissolved. Then add any, all or none of the following ingredients. Cover cucumbers completely with liquid, in the vessel of your choice and place in refrigerator, swishing every so often to ensure the liquid is saturating the cukes. Kids love the swishing process, but make sure the lids are on nice and tight!
- The pickles are ready to serve and enjoy after two days! Serve them up with a tuna or salmon salad sandwich, or as an accompaniment to a heartier roast beef on rye.
Let us know how they turn out by leaving a comment below, or share your favorite refrigerator pickle recipe!