For many home cooks, the notion of preserving is daunting. The thought of handling hot jars and achieving proper seals can cause folks to raise their hands in surrender. Luckily, there’s a compromise between the science of canning and settling for store-bought staples—the quick refrigerator pickle.
Unlike proper “putting up,” which requires careful attention to temperature and acidity levels to ensure food safety, making quick pickles is blissfully simple. Just pick your produce, heat your pickling mixture, combine everything, and let it cool. The refrigerator shoulders the responsibility of keeping your creations safe to eat (about 1 month for most recipes), freeing you up to relax and play with flavor combinations.
Think beyond dill pickle spears—you can quick-pickle just about any non-leafy vegetable. Simply add your favorite fresh herbs and any vinegar that suits your fancy.
While canning is a precise science, like baking, making refrigerator pickles is more like home cooking; you can add a little of this and a little of that until it tastes just right.
So when summer blesses you with a bumper crop of vegetables that you need to use up in a hurry, consider trying your hand at quick pickles. They make flavorful additions to sandwiches, salads, and relish trays, but they’re best enjoyed simply—cold and crisp, right out of the jar.
Browse our quick-and-easy recipes for refrigerator pickles.