It’s that time of year to start using up those bumper crop of garden veggies and you, my friend, are going to learn how to make quick pickled cucumbers and red onion.
Or just pickles, as I like to call them.
My garden lets me know where things are at in the world. As I begin to haul a million tomatoes, cucumbers and bunches of basil into my kitchen I am preparing myself for canning, pickling and freezing. Tomato sauce, pesto and pickle making are on the todo list for me this weekend. I’m preparing for fall and storing up.
This can be easy, even fun, and you will thank yourself this winter knowing what is waiting for you in the freezer.
First, the cucumbers. I decided to simplify and make the “refrigerator” version of pickles. Refrigerator pickles (or cucumbers) get stored in the cold, rather than in a cabinet and therefore don’t last as long as if you can them (which is a whole different process). But no worries because I guarantee you will eat them all. They also make impressive gifts.
What Else Can I Pickle Besides Cucumbers?
Since I had loads of cucumbers, that was my first choice of ingredient, but truth be told, you can use a variety of vegetables in this recipe: beets, radishes, green beans, peppers. Whatever might sound good to you in a pickled, briny environment.
Are Refrigerator Pickles Good For You?
Refrigerator pickles go through a process of fermentation and fermented foods of all kinds are beneficial for our health and wellbeing. Fermenting produces live cultures and living foods that your digestive tract literally feeds off of. Good gut health is the first step towards a strong immune system. Need I say more? Eat those pickles!
What Can I Do With Refrigerator Pickles?
You can eat these pickled cucumbers and onions as is, or chopped up in salads, layered in sandwiches, added to egg or tuna salad (like I did the other day), in quesadillas, pretty much anywhere you want a hit of flavor. The briny, salty, sour flavor profile is versatile and goes with so many foods.
Quick Pickled Cucumbers and Red Onion
Makes 2 quarts (or 4 pints)
4 small cucumbers or 2 large
1 large red onion
2 cups apple cider vinegar
2 cups water
1/2 cup organic can sugar
2 tablespoons coarse salt
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
4 wide mouthed pint, or 2 quart sized mason jars, cleaned thoroughly and dried
1. Be sure to have your jars washed, cleaned and dry.
2. Thinly slice the cucumbers and place them in a bowl. Thinly slice the red onion and add them with the cucumbers. Set aside.
3. In a medium saucepan, add the vinegar, water, sugar, salt and fennel seeds. Stir and bring to a boil and then down to a simmer, until the sugar and salt is dissolved.
4. Evenly distribute the vegetables into the jars, leaving about 1/2″ space at the top. Ladle the brine evenly into the jars (you might not use all the brine). Push the vegetables as best you can underneath the brine to cover them. Tap the jars to release any air bubbles and let sit on the counter. Cover the jars with the rings and the lids that came with the jars and bring down to room temperature.
5. Place in the refrigerator and let sit for at least 24 hours before using. The vegetables will get stronger as they age. Store for about 4 weeks.