Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Quick and Delicious Refrigerator Pickles

I usually don't have very good luck growing cucumbers. Every year, the vines start out looking lush and robust. I start thinking, "Maybe this is the year ..." My optimism grows. Hope runs high. Around the middle of June, I go to the garden and see ripe, perfect cucumbers! At that point, I start planning all the great recipes I'm going to make with the bumper crop I'll have.

This year's crop is lookin' good!

Then, two days later, I go to the garden, and all the cucumber plants have started to die from some kind of wilt. It's so discouraging! But every year, I try again, and this year I seem to have found a variety of bush cucumber that is more disease-resistant, and I'm harvesting plenty of nice, 5"-6" long cucumbers.



Buckley's my gardening buddy. He hangs around outside the electric fence that guards my garden from the deer, and waits for me to throw any cast-offs, like humongous overgrown cucumbers or zucchini, over the fence.

"Got one!"

"Mmmmm! Yummy cucumbers!"

So, anyway, since I have a nice crop of cukes to do something with, I pulled out a recipe for "Delicious Refrigerator Pickles" that I got from my dear neighbor, Ola Marriner, over 25 years ago.


The pickles take no time at all to make, and they really are delicious - they taste like a marinated cucumber salad - and you can keep them in the refrigerator for up to three months.


To prove to you, and myself, how quick they are to make, I actually kept track of how long it took me to make the batch that you see in the pictures above. Here's my timeline:

(I started these at 8:35 p.m. because I kept thinking all day that I didn't have time to get into making pickles!)

8:35 pm - Slice onions using a food processor
8:36 pm - Thinly slice cucumbers with food processor.
8:40 pm - Pack cucumbers and onions in jars
8:48 pm - Make syrup and pour over cucumbers in jars
8:53 pm - Clean up, wash dishes
8:58 pm - Finished!

I couldn't believe it only took me 23 minutes to make 4 quarts of pickles!



Quick and Delicious Refrigerator Pickles

Ingredients:
12 cups thinly sliced cucumbers (about 14 5" pickles)
1 thinly sliced onion
3 cups sugar
2-3 T. salt
1 1/2 cups vinegar

Directions:
Combine sugar, salt, and vinegar. Stir to dissolve the sugar and form a syrup.
Pack the cucumbers and onions into quart jars. Pour the vinegar mixture over them. Refrigerate.

Makes 3-4 quarts of pickles. Store in refrigerator for up to 3 months.

Recipe Notes:
- Use a food processor fitted with a slicing blade (thin) to make quick work of cutting up the cucumbers and onions.
- Pack the cucumbers into the jars fairly tightly. They’ll condense down as they marinate in the vinegar mixture. Wide mouth quart jars are easier to fill than narrow mouth ones.
- The original recipe calls for 3 T. salt, but I’ve found 2 T. to be sufficient. Adjust to suit your taste.
- The quantity of onions may be adjusted. If you’re using strong onions, stick with only one cup, as they can tend to overwhelm the flavor of the cucumbers. But, if you have sweet onions, such as Vidalia, you can use a higher proportion of them, up to two cups.
- The sugar may not be completely dissolved when you pour the syrup over the cukes. Don't worry about it. It will eventually dissolve.
- When you’re filling the jars, the vinegar mixture may not quite cover the cucumbers. That’s okay. Just tilt and rotate the jar a few times to make sure all the cucumbers are well coated with the vinegar mixture. After the pickles sit in the refrigerator overnight, they will have settled and condensed down to about 2/3 of their original volume and will all be immersed in the vinegar. I usually consolidate them into full jars then.
- Allow the pickles to marinate for at least two days before serving.

2 comments:

  1. I am SO going to try this!! I love sliced cucumber with a little onion and salt like my grandma used to make. Thanks for the recipe and all of yours-I'm going back through your older posts to look for more. Dr. suggests gluten-free for me, so I'm assuming most of your recipes are? Thanks Leslie!

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    Replies
    1. I can't say that all of them here are gluten-free as written. Some contain flour, and I may not have mentioned in the recipe that I use gluten-free flour when I make it for us. I like the GF flour from Freedom Delivered or www.gfjules.com. Also, Bob's Red Mill has improved their GF flour greatly and I now like it and use it. Just make sure it's their new one called "1-to-1 Baking Flour", not the old one that was mostly bean flour (yuck!)

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