Homemade Refrigerator Pickles
It’s summer, you guys! I mean, yeah, okay, we’ve still got two weeks left of school. Sure, the highs are only in the 80s – not that we’re complaining about that. But we went to the spray park yesterday. For the first time this season I watched squealing sun- and water-drenched children race about, chasing the droplets from one fountain to the next. Earlier this week my husband roused our not-really-sleeping children from their beds so that they could witness firsthand the most luminescent harbingers of summer, the fireflies. And starting this weekend we’ll begin to partake of the deliciousness that summer brings: the squash, the melons, the tomatoes, the cucumbers. Oh. My. It makes my mouth water just thinking about it.
The challenge, of course, is to use all of the produce before it turns on you which can be particularly tricky if you plan on travelling. If this sounds familiar then as I see it you’ve got a handful of options, (1.) you can prepare a dish for consumption this week, (2.) you can share with friends, (3.) you can make something that will keep for an extended period of time, or (4.) you can do all of the above, sometimes at the same time. Today, I’m going to pick option 4.
For all of you planning to shake fists at the sky, defy the forecast of rain and thunderstorms, and do what every red-blooded American knows is the right thing to do on a holiday weekend, namely barbecue, I’ve got a little sumpin’ sumpin’ for ya: homemade refrigerator pickles. They are quick, easy, delicious, and go great on burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, in potato salads, or, my personal fave, on a pulled pork or chicken sandwich, particularly when that piece of chicken or pork has just come off of my husband’s smoker. The man is a genius when it comes to his smoked chicken. I once walked into a party with a pan of chicken fresh off the smoker and had nearly every man in the house turn, follow me to the kitchen and, while wiping the drool off their mouths with a starry-eyed gaze, ask me, “What IS that?!” You know what it was? It was GOOD! And with a happy little slice of pickle on top, even better.
Including the time that it takes to slice the cucumbers and onion and to boil the sugar and vinegar, this recipe takes all of maybe 15 minutes. If you want to get fancy and boil jars for storage you might add another 7 minutes or you can roll like I do when I’m not trying to take pictures and put them in Tupperware. And, by Tupperware, we all know I mean the Cool Whip container that is so old the writing has completely faded, right? I just didn’t want us to lose sight of reality when you see the pictures of the pretty jars I used today.
Whatever you choose: in fancy jars or Tupperware, sitting down and eating the whole jar by yourself (like my 5-year-old) or sharing with friends, in salads or on something grilled, at home or on the road, sweet, spicy, or extra-tangy, here’s hoping it’s the perfect side dish for your holiday weekend.
To all those who have served, to those who have sacrificed so that we might have reason to celebrate, many thanks.
The Home Grown Mom’s Refrigerator Pickles
6 cups cucumbers (I used 2 cucumbers), sliced as thin or thick as you like
1 small onion, diced
1 cup white vinegar
1 TBSP. salt
6 TBSP. sugar (more or less to taste)
1 jalapeno, sliced (optional – excellent for a spicy sweet pickle)
- Put prepared cucumbers, onion, and jalapeno (if using) in a medium sized bowl.
- In a small saucepan combine the salt, vinegar, and sugar over medium-high heat until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture has come to a boil.
- Pour the vinegar/sugar mixture over the vegetables and stir.
- Transfer to storage container of your choice, either Tupperware or glass jars, and place in refrigerator. I let them cool down at least 30 minutes before digging in.
NOTE: We like our pickles rather tangy. If you prefer a sweeter pickle then ratchet up the sugar content. To test for the right mixture, dip a sliced cucumber in the vinegar/sugar mixture as it heats on the stove and then adjust accordingly.