I make the first big jar of these easy refrigerator pickles as soon as our Cape garden cucumbers begin to get ahead of us, which is usually around mid-July. We eat them on everything: in salads, on burgers, stuffed into sandwiches at the beach, and even cold and crunchy, straight from the fridge, on the end of a long fork. Once the first jar is gone, we just refill it with more thinly-sliced cukes, shaved onion, and dill sprigs, using the same brine over and over again, all summer long. Since we don’t cook the vegetables in their brine, the pickles stay crisp and light, more salad-like than a typical pickle.
2 cups organic apple cider vinegar 1/4 cup natural cane sugar 1/4 cup kosher salt 1 tablespoon prepared “pickling spices”, or a blend of coriander seeds, whole allspice, peppercorns, mixed yellow + brown mustard seed, crumbled dry bay leaf 1 big pinch dried chili flakes (or more, if you like spicy pickles) 2 cups cold water 2-4 thin cucumbers, preferably home-grown, thinly sliced on a mandoline 1 small red onion or shallot, thinly sliced lengthwise into shards 4-5 big sprigs fresh dill, preferably from the garden, with flowers/seeds if possible
In a small saucepan heat the vinegar, sugar, and salt, and stir until everything’s dissolved and clear. Add the pickling spices, chili flakes, and cold water, and set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, fill your jar with cukes, onions, and dill, layering them to evenly distribute. (Feel free to double or triple the recipe by filling more jars with more vegetables and making more brine.)
Pour the cooled brine over the vegetables and close the lid. Chill in the fridge overnight; the pickles are now ready to eat.
When the jar is nearly empty, fish out the last few cukes and onions to snack on, but leave the spices and brine in the jar. Slice up more cucumbers and onions, pluck some more dill sprigs, and refill the jar. Refrigerate overnight to “cure,” then repeat when this batch is gone! (These need to be kept in the fridge; they are not a “shelf-stable” pickle.)
Sarah Blackburn is a home cook, recipe developer, vegetable gardener and managing editor of Edible Boston. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org