Making refrigerator pickles is a pretty easy process once you have done it a few times. The basic steps are:
1) Prepare the vegetables
2) Heat the pickling liquid
3) Cover the vegetables with the pickling liquid and let it cool
4) Refrigerate or eat
That's all there is to it!
How to Make Refrigerate Pickles
For the step by step directions we will use cucumbers for the pickles but this process works for most pickled vegetables.
Pick out the Cucumbers
Make sure you pick vegetables that are crisp, fresh, and look free of mold or spots. Using "pickling cucumbers" can also result in a crisper pickle than using slicing ones.
Prepare the Cucumbers
First, wash the cucumbers well. Trim off the end of the cucumber where the blossom was.
There are many different types of pickled cucumbers, from small whole gherkins to thinly sliced "chips". Cut the cucumbers into the shape desired for your pickles.
Sanitize Your Jars
The key to safely storing pickles is cleanliness. To ensure everything is clean you can either run all your jars, lids, and equipment (like jar grabbers, etc) through the dishwasher or boil them in a pot for several minutes. This process isn't as important with refrigerator pickles as it is when you are going to can the pickles but it never hurts to be safe.
Make the Pickles
Mix together vinegar and your pickling mix. When getting started it can be helpful to use one of the many pickling mixes available. It saves time as well as tells you exactly how much vinegar to use. We have many recipes for custom spice mixes but packaged mixes are a good place to start.
Bring the pickling liquid to a boil.
Package the Jars
Fill your jars with the cucumbers. Pour the hot liquid over the cucumbers and fill the jar to 1/2" of the top. Make sure all air is removed by jostling the jar or using a chopstick or other long, wooden object to release any air bubbles.
Place the lids and rings on the jars and tighten the rings.
Store the Jars
Let the cool on the counter. Once the jars are cool place them in the refrigerator, they should last for up to 6 weeks depending on the type of pickle. The will be ready for eating right away but the flavor will continue to develop the longer they are in the liquid so it is generally best to wait at least 24 hours.
Photo Credit: Yo Ames