Last year, the cucumber plants in my garden ended up being my most plentiful crop. As much as I enjoy fresh cucumber salads, cocktails and crudité, I soon found myself in need of a way to make sure the crispy cukes I'd worked so hard to grow could last long enough for me to enjoy before they spoiled. Enter refrigerator pickles. This easy pickling method takes just a few minutes, no cooking and absolutely zero skill — the exact vibe I look for this sweltering time of year.
Add crushed chile flakes, whole mustard seeds or sliced onions/shallots to adjust the flavor if desired. If you prefer sweeter pickles, you can add a few tablespoons of granulated sugar to the brine. If using store-bought cucumbers, be sure to look for organic varieties that are free of pesticides.
Swap option: Firm Kirby cucumbers will stay crunchiest once pickled, but you can substitute other cucumbers if desired.
Special equipment: Wide mouth pint (about 4) or quart jars (about 2) with lids.
Combine water, vinegar and salt in a large pitcher and whisk until combined.2.
Divide peppercorns, garlic, dill and bay leaves evenly among jars. Fill jars with sliced or speared cucumbers, packing in as tightly as possible. Pour in the brine covering the cucumbers and other ingredients completely (depending on the size of your cucumbers, you may have additional brine).3.
Cover and seal jars, then shake vigorously to distribute brine and ingredients. Place in refrigerator at least 3 days. The flavor will continue to develop the longer the pickles remain in the refrigerator. Once open, consume within 1 to 2 weeks.