Test Kitchen: Dill Refrigerator Pickles

by Mara Eyllon on September 16, 2010

In Union Square this past Saturday, Nicewicz Family Farm  (Bolton, MA) dished out some fine specimens of vegetal beauty. The petite white carrots, tomatillos and cherry tomatoes, not unlike the miniature garments of Charles Ledray on view at the ICA, looked as though they might adorn a table set for a doll’s tea party. More appropriately though, they were the perfect size to chop and brine in mason jars. 

The nice thing about refrigerator pickles is that they don’t require the same fuss and precision as their fermented counterparts. These pickles can be prepared with a few simple ingredients that may already be on hand such as white or apple cider vinegar, black pepper corns and celery seeds. There are a variety of vegetables that might be pickled depending on personal tastes — we used a medley of radishes, Brazilian cucumbers and small white carrots, but green beans, banana peppers, onions and beets take just as well to a jar full of zesty brine and fresh dill.

Quick and Easy Garden Refrigerator Pickles


Makes about four 29 ounce jars of pickles

Use empty jam jars of various sizes and eyeball spice quantities depending on the size of the jar.

8 cups of fresh, crunchy vegetables of your choice such as…

1 bunch radishes (washed and speared)

1 bunch white carrots (washed and speared)

1 bunch Brazilian cucumbers (washed and speared)

10 or so fresh dill sprigs

1-2 thinly sliced shallots

6-7 cloves of fresh garlic

4 tsp black peppercorns

2 tsp celery seeds

5 cups distilled white or apple cider vinegar

5 cups cold water

6 tbs sugar

4 tsp kosher salt

3-5 mason jars (depending on size)


Prepare a clean surface on which to do your chopping and jarring. Prep all of the veggies to desired size and shape and set aside. In large pitcher, prepare the brine by mixing water, vinegar, salt and sugar.

Thoroughly wash and dry the mason jars. Place 2-4 sprigs of fresh, rinsed dill in the bottom of each jar. Then sprinkle about 1 tsp peppercorns and 1/4 tsp celery seeds into each jar. Use the flat side of a knife to crush the garlic cloves and facilitate skin removal. Coarsely chop the crushed garlic and thinly slice the shallot before divvying them up among the jars.

Fill each jar with vegetables, add garlic and spice and pour in brine before sealing the cap onto the jar and placing it in the refrigerator for 48 hours. These pickles should keep for a few weeks and are great in salads with hard boiled eggs, or chopped up into a relish and served on a burger.

Brazilan Cucumbers available from Flatts Mentor Farm

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

8yearoldsdude September 17, 2010 at 11:59 AM

refrigerator pickles are delicious. that is all.

whitesnakes September 18, 2010 at 9:12 AM

Great article! Those cukes are beautiful.

Whitesnakes October 3, 2010 at 7:55 AM

Is it possible that the sugar and salt quantities were reversed? Because I have some pretty gross pickles in my fridge right now.

Mara October 3, 2010 at 11:33 AM

That’s odd, they aren’t reversed. I will try again and see what might be wrong. What did you pickle?


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