A few weeks ago, at my parents’ house, my son found a jar of homemade pickles in the fridge made by my mom’s dear friend Joanne Biltekoff. He loved them, so Joanne sent me her recipe and we made them over the weekend. Such fun! They’re refrigerator pickles, which means quick and easy — no sterilizing jars or special canning equipment required. All you do is slice the cucumbers into spears, cover them with a brine, tuck them in the fridge and they’re ready to eat in 24 hours.
Of course, they don’t last as long as canned pickles but it doesn’t matter much because they disappear so quickly.
The most important part of the recipe is to start with Kirby or pickling cucumbers. They’re short, squat and full of warts but they make deliciously crisp pickles. Surprisingly, I can never find them at my regular grocery store but Whole Foods always carries them. Don’t be tempted to substitute another kind of cucumber or you’ll end up with soggy pickles.
Begin by making the brine. Combine the vinegar, salt and sugar in a small non-reactive saucepan (such as stainless steel, glass, ceramic or teflon). Heat and stir until the salt and sugar are completely dissolved. (Alternatively, Joanne says you can shake the vinegar, salt and sugar in a jar until the salt and sugar dissolve.) Whisk in the cold water, then chill until ready to use.
Next, stuff the cucumbers into two 1-quart jars. Add the coriander and mustard seeds, garlic, red pepper flakes, dill sprigs and chilled brine to the jars, dividing evenly.
Cover and let sit in the refrigerator for about 24 hours, then serve. The pickles will keep in the fridge for up to one month.
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Homemade Refrigerator Dill Pickles
- 1-1/4 cups distilled white vinegar (5% acidity)
- 3 tablespoons kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 cups cold water
- 1-3/4 to 2 pounds Kirby cucumbers (about 6), cut into halves or spears
- 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
- 6 large garlic cloves, peeled and halved
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 16 dill sprigs
- Combine the vinegar, salt and sugar in a small non-reactive saucepan (such as stainless steel, glass, ceramic or teflon) over high heat. Whisk until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Transfer the liquid into a bowl and whisk in the cold water. Refrigerate brine until ready to use.
- Stuff the cucumbers into two clean 1-quart jars. Add the coriander seeds, garlic cloves, mustard seeds, red pepper flakes, dill sprigs, and chilled brine into jars, dividing evenly. If necessary, add a bit of cold water to the jars until the brine covers the cucumbers. Cover and refrigerate about 24 hours, then serve. Cucumbers will keep in the refrigerator for up to one month.