These crisp and flavorful pickles are ready to eat just 24 hours from when you make them. They will keep in the refrigerator for several months, but will have the best texture if eaten within 1 month.
The basic recipe is for cucumber dill pickles, but you can mix up the spices and the vegetables that you use (see the variations below). Carrots, green or wax beans and cauliflower all work well in this recipe.
- 1 1/4 cups water
- 1/3 cup cider vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt (or non-iodized salt)
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 small cloves garlic (peeled)
- 2 sprig of dill leaves (or 1 dill flowerhead or 2 teaspoons dried dill leaves)
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Make a brine by combining the water, vinegar, salt and honey and bringing them to a boil.
- Pack two clean glass pint jars with the cucumbers (it is not necessary to sterilize the jars for this recipe). Add one clove of garlic, one sprig of dill, and a pinch of red pepper flakes to each jar as you pack in the cucumbers. Pack the cucumbers (or other vegetables) in tightly - you don't want them to float when you add the brine.
- Pour the hot brine over the other ingredients. The vegetables should be completely immersed in the brine. Since these refrigerator pickles will not be canned, it is not necessary to leave head space between the surface of the food and the rims of the jars.
- Fasten lids and store in the refrigerator for at least twenty-four hours before eating.
- Quick Curried Cauliflower Pickle
Omit the dill. Add 2 teaspoons curry powder to the brine in the first step.
- Quick Kimchee
Omit the dill and the honey. Use 1 quart of shredded cabbage plus 1 cup of julienned daikon radish instead of the cucumbers. Double the amount of red chile pepper flakes. Add 1 teaspoon minced garlic, 1 teaspoon grated ginger and 2 tablespoons soy sauce to the brine.
Note: traditional kimchee is a fermented food rather than a vinegar pickle, but this version is a good substitute if you're short on time.
- Quick Bread and Butter-style Pickles
Use 1/4 cup instead of the 2 tablespoons of honey. Cut the cucumbers into rounds rather than spears. Add 1/4-cup finely sliced white onions. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon whole mustard seeds and 2 or 3 whole allspice into each pint jar as you load the vegetables.