Have you ever grown cucumbers? If so, you know that just one plant produces an insane amount of cucumbers.
You pretty much need to have a plan of attack before they start producing or you are going to be eating cucumbers for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Sometimes I have an entire produce drawer full at a time. They just stare at me, saying, “I’m going to get moldy soon. You better do something about it.” I’ll be honest, our chickens have eaten just about as many of our cucumbers as we have when I didn’t have a plan or time to deal with them.
What Is in Refrigerator Pickles?
While my kids do love eating cucumbers straight out of the garden or sliced and dipped in hummus, four kids can’t keep up with over ten large cucumbers a day at times.
My solution is almost always to make refrigerator pickles. They are so quick, so simple, and I always have the ingredients on hand. Plus it can extend the life of cucumbers for weeks!
The basic brine recipe includes pickles, water, vinegar, salt, sugar, and dillweed. Then I like to add some additional seasoning for a boost of flavor.
Do You Need to Use Pickling Cucumbers for Refrigerator Pickles?
While pickling cucumbers are the ideal choice for any type of homemade pickles, refrigerator pickles can be made with pretty much any variety of cucumbers.
We typically grow an English-style cucumber because we mostly eat them fresh. I have used these to make both refrigerator pickles and shelf-stable canned pickles. If the cucumbers are larger and have more seeds, I simply cut the seeds out.
So no matter what variety of pickles you grow or find at the local farmer’s market or store, you can use them to make refrigerator pickles!
Are Refrigerator Pickles Fermented?
Refrigerator pickles are not the same as fermented pickles. Fermentation requires a larger quantity of salt, and allowing the pickles to sit at room temperature for a few days. It also produces beneficial bacteria.
Refrigerator pickles, on the other hand, only take 24 hours to absorb all the flavors and be ready for consumption, but they do not contain probiotics.
If your goal is to feed your family fermented pickles, refrigerator pickles are a great stepping stone. This will get them used to the flavor of homemade pickles before adding in the fermented taste.
How Kids Can Help Make Refrigerator Pickles
Even if your kids don’t think they like cucumbers or pickles, getting them in the kitchen to help slice veggies is a great opportunity to not only connect with you but also be exposed to new foods.
Slicing cucumbers is definitely one of the kitchen tasks my kids do most often. It doesn’t require a super sharp knife. You can even let them use a crinkle cutter to make “fancy” pickles.
Making the brine is an opportunity to practice measuring, pouring, and mixing, all skills taught in the Kids Cook Real Food course.
And if you have really little kids, they will enjoy packing the sliced cucumbers into jars. There is a job for everyone!
After showing your kids how it’s done once or twice they’ll be able to take over the pickle-making all summer.
Pickle Recipe: No Canning Required
Refrigerator pickles make the perfect summer snack for kids and adults. You’ll want to make a few jars at a time because they’ll go quickly! No canning or fermenting is required. Just a few simple ingredients.
My kids actually beg for refrigerator pickles for a bedtime snack! We go through a jar very quickly.Print
Quick and delicious refrigerator pickles. No canning required!
- 5–7 pickling cucumbers per quart jar
- 6 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
- 3 Tbs. organic cane sugar or honey
- 1 1/2 tsp. unrefined sea
- 1 1/2 tsp. dried dillweed
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 1/2 tsp. onion powder
- Water to fill
- Wash and slice cucumbers into rounds or sticks.
- Fill jar with cucumber slices.
- In a small bowl mix all of the brine ingredients.
- Pour over cucumbers in jar.
- Add water to fill the jar.
- Top with a lid and gently shake.
- After 24 hours the pickles are ready to eat!
- Store in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks.
- You can use this recipe with other vegetables as well – carrots, zucching, beans, and onions.
- After your pickles are done, slice up some new cucumbers and reuse the brine for a second batch!
- Serving Size: 1/2 cup
- Calories: 52
- Sugar: 7g
- Sodium: 515mg
- Carbohydrates: 12g
- Fiber: 1g
- Protein: 2g
Keywords: seasonal recipe, healthy snack, food preservation
Real Food Refrigerator Pickle Recipe
Making refrigerator pickles is so simple! You’ll want to make this delicious treat all summer long. Try different spices every time you make a batch until you find your favorite combination.
There are so many ways to use refrigerator pickles:
- eat them plain as a snack or part of lunch
- add to salads
- top burgers
- add to sandwiches
- dice them up to add to salad dressings (such as thousand island) or tartar sauce
My kids definitely enjoy eating pickles as snacks most often. And what’s really great is that you can reuse the brine once the pickles are gone. Just slice a few more cucumbers, add them to the jar, and let them marinate for another 24 hours.
And if your kids truly want nothing to do with cucumbers, use a different vegetable! This recipe works really well with extra garden zucchini. You can also use carrots, beans, or even peppers.
Note that refrigerator pickles are not shelf stable. If you want pickles year-round you’ll have to water bath can either dill or bread and butter pickles.
Does your family enjoy munching on pickles in the summer?