Updated: Sep 16, 2019
For years I've dabbled in pickling, preserving, and making mustards and barbecue sauces (Carolina style, especially).
This year was the first time I grew my own cucumbers and dill (garlic, hopefully next year). Two things: 1) I had so many cucumber pickles this year I really had to force myself to keep pickling. 2) My dill grew way ahead of my cucumbers, so I learned a little lesson about timing crops.
I make refrigerator pickles, mostly because it eliminates the whole hot bath mess, which adds only time to the process. It's especially not necessary when the multiple jars of pickles I make are gone within a few weeks! Nope, no reason to store these longer than that.
As always, the key is the right amount of vinegar/spice and the crunchiness of the pickle. I've tried a bunch of recipes and also a couple of different types of pickles, but nothing beats a great dill!
I found the best recipe HERE, and from there added hot peppers (either red pepper flakes or green chilies). The nice thing about this recipe is there is a sliding scale for servings so you can adjust the ingredients for the number of jars you are using. There's a lot of pre-recipe banter on the site that you can skip. Just scroll down quite a ways to get to the actual "recipe card."
Here is the recipe:
Best Ever Refrigerator Pickles
Serving size: 1 pint jar (12 spears)
3 pickling cucumbers 4-4 1/2" long, but no longer
1/4 oz fresh dill a few sprigs per jar
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup water
2 cloves garlic crushed with the side of a knife
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp whole mustard seeds
1/4 tsp whole black peppercorns
1. Wash cucumbers and cut into spears or slices. Pack into a wide-mouth pint-sized canning jar, or any clean glass jar. Since these are refrigerator pickles a canning jar is not necessary. Tuck several sprigs of dill in between the cucumbers.
2. In a non-reactive saucepan, combine the vinegar, water, garlic cloves, salt, sugar, mustard seeds, and peppercorns. Bring to a boil and stir until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
3. Pour liquid over cucumbers in the jar. Make sure to include all the mustard seeds, peppercorns, and garlic. (If making multiple jars, include two cloves of garlic per jar and divide the mustard seeds and peppercorns approximately evenly between jars.) If you are using a slightly larger jar and the liquid doesn't fully cover the pickles, fill the rest of the jar up with water.
4. Close the jar and refrigerate for a minimum of 24 hours but preferably 48 hours.