Refrigerator Dill Pickles

They are garlicky and dilly and crisp and delicious. They are perfect next to a sandwich or sausage in a bun. Hell, they are perfect as an additional vegetable on your dinner plate. They are perfect chopped up and tossed into your tuna salad.

You get the idea — they are perfect.

This is a fresh pickle with white vinegar, pickling spice, fresh dill weed, and garlic. I brought a little experience with me from lacto-fermenting things in that I dry-salt the cucumber slices for an hour before committing them to the brine. This brine is not water and salt, it is water and vinegar.

What I am trying to recreate here is an experience we had at a farmers market in Maryland. These were called refrigerator pickles and were apparently made fresh to be eaten fresh. It was not a problem for us to finish these well before they lost the color and crunch that made them irresistible.

I use 16 oz salsa jars that I save from our favorite salsa (Dick´s Cafe Green). I have found these jars on Amazon, and I like them for handing pickles to friends who may or may not remember to return them.

  • 1 lb bag of pickling cucumbers

  • Packet of fresh dill weed

  • 1 ½ cups of water

  • ½ cup withe vinegar

  • 1 - 2 cloves garlic smashed and chopped fine

  1. Cut both ends off the cucumbers to the length of the jar. Cut them lengthwise into ¼ spears. Place them seeds-up on cutting board or a tray and salt them down with course salt. Let them rest while you are working on the next steps.

  2. Make up a cheesecloth swatch and place 1 tbsp of pickling spice. Tie off with a cotton string and place in a pot with the water and vinegar. Simmer for ten minutes or so with the lid on to infuse the liquid with pickling spice.

  3. Clean, crush and chop the garlic. You can grind it with a mortar and pestle if you want it to disappear into the pickle.

  4. When your liquid is ready, transfer the pot to an ice water bath to cool down. I usually do this in the sink.

  5. While your liquid is cooling, gently prise the string off the spice bag so you can fish out some kernels a maybe a bay leaf or two for your pickle jar.

  6. Pluck the dill fronds off the stems. No need to chop them up, just clean out the stem parts.

  7. Gently dab the salt and liquid off the pickles with a paper towel.

  8. Place the cucumber spears, alternating with dill fronds, garlic, and spice kernels into the jar. Use a chopstick or fork to help line them up.

  9. Pour the cool vinegar solution in the jar, close the lid and give it a shake. Open the jar and top off with liquid. Only leave about one eighth in of head space.

Pop your work into the fridge and wait, ideally a few days for your flavors to infuse the cucumber spears. Note that no heat has been applied to these pickles so as to insure a crisp, fresh, crunch.