Do you love pickles? I do. I’m a pickle fanatic. Actually, I pretty much love any foods that are pickled (well, maybe except for pickled pigs feet!) Today is your lucky day because I am going to share with you a family recipe for how to make easy, crunchy, sweet refrigerator pickles. Seriously, these are the easiest pickles I’ve ever made and they are so darn tasty!
Well, like I mentioned in this post, the majority of those cucumber plants died a week after being transplanted out thanks to the spring drought.
Luckily my homemade pickle dreams did not die with those cucumber plants!
Fast forward a few months to the end of August. My good friend who runs her own organic farm gave us a box of produce. Inside this box was a whole bunch of pickling cucumbers. I was thrilled!
Why I make refrigerator pickles instead of canning pickles
The only problem with having all these pickling cucumbers was figuring out just how I wanted to go about making our homemade pickles this year.
You see, a few years ago a friend and I canned a couple dozen quart jars of homemade pickles. We made bread and butter pickles and dill pickles.
There were tons of cucumbers involved as well as a whole day of work in the kitchen. This was not my first time canning pickles and I’d never had a pickle canning failure before so was confident about our creations.
I was so excited to try our homemade pickles but was devastated when we opened the first jar.
Why? They were mushy. We tried to eat them but they were just gross. I ended up dumping out several dozen quart size jars of homemade pickles.
It was just devastating. No wonder I’m afraid to can homemade pickles again! (I’m still baffled as to why the pickles turned out mushy so if you have any ideas, please share below in the comments!)
This year I decided to try making refrigerator pickles. I have a recipe that my mom made when I was a kid.
I remember having a huge gallon size glass jar in the fridge and having delicious, homemade crunchy, sweet refrigerator pickles to snack on for months.
I forgot about the recipe for many years and just recently rediscovered it. When I saw it, I knew this was the recipe I was going to use for our homemade pickles this year.
Why I love making refrigerator pickles
We’ve been snacking on these pickles for several weeks now and they are still crunchy! Now that I made this recipe, I don’t know if I’ll ever go back to canning pickles again.
These were so unbelievably easy to make. There was no soaking, rinsing, cooking, or canning involved.
This recipe is so easy even folks with limited skills in the kitchen can make it and not mess it up!
The other great thing about this recipe is you can adjust the quantities and make it in any size depending on how many cucumbers you have.
Our secret family recipe for easy, crunchy, sweet refrigerator pickles
This recipe makes a large jar of refrigerator pickles. I use a gallon size glass jar like this one and fill it up to the top. The cucumbers will shrink down in the jar after the first day or two in the brine but will continue to be crunchy and delicious!
Ingredients for refrigerator pickles:
-10-20 Cucumbers (you can use regular or pickling cucumbers)
-3 medium white onions
-3 cups apple cider vinegar (here’s how to make your own)
-3 cups honey or unrefined sugar
-1/4 cup sea salt
-1 tsp Turmeric
-1 tsp celery seed
-1/2 cup water
-3-4 leaves that have tannin (such as grape, oak or raspberry leaves- this keeps them crunchy so don’t skip these!)
Directions for refrigerator pickles:
1. Slice cucumbers and onions about 1/4″ thick. I used my food processor (we have one like this and absolutely love it!) and had them all sliced nice and thin in just a few minutes.
2. Pack the cucumbers, onions and leaves into a clean gallon size glass jar like this one
3. In a bowl, mix the rest of the ingredients until the salt is dissolved.
4. Pour the liquid into the jar. Put the lid on tight and put it in the refrigerator.
5. Shake the jar once or twice a day for the next eight days.
6. Keep in the refrigerator and enjoy!
If the pickles are in the brine, they should still be good and crunchy for a few months if they aren’t gobbled up before then!
Other easy ways to make pickles
We had a few extra cucumbers so we also decided to try making some freezer pickles this year. I never heard of freezer pickles until a few months ago but thought we’d give it a whirl.
Karen Lynn over at Little Suburban Homestead shared this recipe and said they’re tasty and crunchy so we had to make some to see for ourselves!
We have four pints in the freezer that we’ll start eating once all our refrigerator pickles are gone. If you want to try making some too, here’s the recipe for crunchy sweet freezer pickles.
If you love pickled foods like I do, then you’ll want to check out our post on how to make and can pickled beets with apple cider vinegar and honey. They are so yummy!!
Update March 2023: We discovered my great grandmother’s recipe for making fermented dill crock pickles and we now make several big jars of these each year too!
What is your favorite way to make pickles?