With no lengthy temperature-critical fermentation and no sterile canning, these refrigerator pickles are almost foolproof
The best part of this home made pickle recipe is that you can use it on cucumber spears, cucumber slices for sandwiches, or, my fave, green tomatoes.
Pickled green tomatoes are my faves, and a great use for end of season tomatoes that never ripened. I like pickled green tomatoes even better than pickled cukes because they have such thick walls, they’re always crunchy and juicy. We usually pick them the day before the first hard freeze, because frost can make them mushy.
When you’ve finished the jar, don’t dump the juice. You can add more tomatoes or cukes. After the second use, the brine gets a bit thin, so don’t reuse it more than once for veggies, but it makes a fine brine for fried chicken.
Click here to learn more about the different types of pickles and pickle production methods.
- Clean 1 quart jar and lid
About the salt. If you use table salt you must to cut the quantity in half! Click here to learn more about salt for an explanation. About the chile peppers. The idea here is you want just a little heat in the background so 1/2 a serrano works perfectly. Then again, you might want some noticeable heat. That can be fun! I usually use 4 to 6 small hot chiles per quart, each no bigger than a marble, usually Black Pearls or Fiestas, which we grow outdoors in pots in the summer, and bring indoors over winter. But they are hard to find, so serranos or jalapeños will work fine, that's why they are in the recipe. If you can't find fresh peppers, you can use 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes. If you want more heat, and if you like heat I recommend you try this, double or triple the number of chiles. About the vinegar. You must use distilled vinegar. Any other vinegar imparts too many odd flavors.
- Prep. Make sure you have a really clean bottle and lid. The lids must have good rubber seals. The best thing to do is buy canning jars and lids from Ball. They are in a lot of hardware and grocery stores. Sterilize them by submersing them in a boiling water bath.
- Add seasonings. Put the garlic, dill seeds, chile, and peppercorns to the jar.
- Trim and cram. Thoroughly wash the cukes and tomatoes and slice them in halves or quarters. Cut out all bad spots and the stem ends. Cram them in the jar leaving about 1/2" - 3/4" of space at the top.
- Make the brine. Combine the vinegar, water, and salt in a sauce pan or pot. Bring to a boil, and stir until all the salt is dissolved. Pour the hot brine over the tomatoes and cukes to within 1/4" of the top. Wipe the jar top, put the lids on and tighten.
- Age. Let the pickles sit for 1 week in the refrigerator before serving. Keep refrigerated for up to 3 months or so.
- Beware. The brine will taste very salty at first, but don't panic. The juices from the tomatoes or cucumbers will dilute the concentration of salt in a few days.