Farmers' markets are brimming with summer vegetables. This past Saturday I bought armloads of zucchini, yellow squash, fresh garlic, onions, carrots, peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers. I made a huge batch of gazpacho, slow roasted 2 pans of tomatoes, marinated squash, created a vegetable soup and still had leftovers. My solution? Refrigerator pickles.
Refrigerator pickles are perfect when you don't feel like going through the process of water bath canning. The refrigerator version involves covering the vegetables in a hot vinegar-based brining solution and then refrigerating for a minimum of 24 hours. The water bath solution, similar to jam making, involves packing the vegetables and brine in canning jars and then boiling the jars in hot water until they seal. Both options are perfect for making pickles...and both have pro and cons...so I make both versions.
I usually make the refrigerator version early in summer when I don't feel like spending hours over a hot stove. This technique produces delicious pickles but the down side is they have a shorter shelf life and must be kept in the refrigerator. The processed version can be stored in the pantry and eaten all winter when the produce is out of season. I tend to process pickles near the end of the season to ensure my pantry is stocked for winter.
I made spicy pickles today and used cucumbers, carrots, onions, garlic and jalapenos in an apple cider based brine. Later in summer I will make a similar recipe but adapt to the processed version. Enjoy!
Spicy Cucumber, Carrot & Onion Refrigerator Pickles
3 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp raw organic agave nectar
1 tbsp whole peppercorns
1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
1/2 tsp whole dill seeds
1/2 tsp whole fennel seeds
1 tbsp coarse grey salt
1 bunch fresh dill, chopped
2 large cucumbers
10 very small carrots (must fit inside canning jars) or cut larger carrots to size
1/2 white onion, thinly sliced
5 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 jalapeno, minced*
Add vinegar, agave, peppercorns, mustard seeds, dill seeds, fennel seeds, and grey salt to medium saucepan. Bring to a rapid boil. Turn off heat, add the fresh dill, and allow to steep for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, slice the cucumbers in half width wise. Cut each half into thirds lengthwise. Cut each piece into thirds lengthwise. (got that?) You should end up with 18 slices per cucumber. You can now divide the cucumber, carrots, onion, garlic and jalapeno between 2-3 canning jars with lids or, even easier, place all vegetables into a large glass bowl with a lid. ( I have a rectangular sized glass storage container which is perfect for this recipe.)
If you are using jars, pour the liquid over the vegetables in the jars, ensuring the liquid completely covers all ingredients. If you are using a bowl, just pour in all the liquid. Place the lid(s) in the jars/bowl, place in refrigerator and allow to chill a minimum of 24 hours. I prefers at least 48 hrs to allow the flavors to meld.
These pickles will last 2-3 weeks in the fridge. Remember, these are NOT processed. You must keep them refrigerated, not stored in the pantry.
other cucumber recipes you may enjoy:
cucumber and avocado open face sandwiches
cucumber coolers with agave simple syrup
greek quinoa salad
cucumber & chiles salad
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Napa Farmhouse 1885: Spicy Cucumber, Carrot and Onion Refrigerator Pickles
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FN Dish: Pickles Past the Jar