Monday, June 30, 2014

Refrigerator Pickles - Seasonal Eating Cucumbers

With the summer season in full swing and the 4th of July just around the corner, it is prime time for outdoor eating and summer foods. To me, that means foods that are quick to make and refreshing to eat. 

My whole family is a family of pickle lovers! My sister even served homemade pickles at her wedding. She and her husband make them in giant batches during the summer and there isn't a time that we all get together that someone isn't sharing pickles. Perhaps we are a little crazy, perhaps the vinegar has pickled our brains. 

I absolutely love fridge pickles, I love how different they are from "canned" pickles or "regular" pickles. I think they are so fresh tasting and we just can't get enough of them.  I was very excited to try this recipe because of the addition of red onion. (It also has green peppers, but they give me heartburn so badly, I didn't include them - Isn't that the great thing about cooking in your own kitchen!)  The technique of icing the brine is new to me too. I am happy to report they turned out amazing and I would make them again with little change in the recipe. I would however probably cut the sugar in half. 

The first thing you are going to want to do is slice your cucumbers and onions and layer them into your containers. You can use quart jars if you have them. I just used two reusable plastic containers, so they could travel to the party safely.  

Be sure you slice the cucumbers in a uniform thickness so that you have a continuous product when you are done. You don't want some slices super thin and soggy and some super thick and crunchy (unless you want them all either one of those ways - just be sure they are all the same size. 

I also layer the onions with the cucumbers. This keeps the cucumbers from sticking together is big stacks and not getting surrounded by the vinegar brine. 

Once your veggies are all sliced and prepped, get your brine going on the stove. I am not a super big fan of how hot vinegar makes my house smell, but I will tolerate it for the final product any day of the week. 

 Once your brine has boiled, remove it from heat and add the ice cubes to cool it down. This was a new step for me and I was really happy with how it worked out.

 Then pour your cooled brine over your sliced cucumbers and onions and pop into the fridge to get all delicious and pickle-y.  I am usually unable to wait very long before I am "testing" to see how they turned out. The longer that you are able to let them marinade the more full the flavors will become. And they will last for up to two months in your fridge - but that isn't something you are going to have to worry about.

Here's the recipe!

4 thinly sliced cucumbers ( I used 6 and left out the bell pepper)
1-large  sliced red onions
1-large  sliced green bell  peppers (or color of your choice)
1-tbsp salt
2-cup white vinegar
1 1/2-cups sugar (for my family I cut the sugar in half but if I was taking it somewhere I would add the the sugar)
1-tsp celery flakes
1-tsp red pepper flakes ( I adjusted this a little and only added a 1/2 a tsp, I was pleased with that.) 

Mix cucumbers, onions, peppers and salt; set a side.

Put vinegar, sugar, celery flakes and pepper flakes  in a pot and bring to a boil. Once mixture comes to a boil remove from heat and  add 2 handfuls of ice until melted.

Place all veggies in large mouth canning jars (2 quarts or 1 half gallon jar)

Pour mixture over cucumbers,  store in refrigerator.
Will keep up to 2 months

Makes 2 quart jars- amount will differ based on the size of your veggies.