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call me hawkeye

Recipe: refrigerator pickles

Yes, yes you can call me that… hawkeye. I am a padawan of the master, to hunt porcini mushrooms. Actually, I just have good pattern recognition software in my noggin. You could say it comes from years of scouting for nature photography, wildflowers, and being visually-oriented. Wendy has now trained my algorithm on porcini mushrooms. The beauty of it is that I love finding them and she loves eating them. If you don’t know what you’re doing then it’s good, nay – essential – to go with an expert lest ye put something foul and poisonous in your mouth. I tend to err on the side of caution, as does my friend Kathya, which is one of the many reasons the three of us had such a fantastic time foraging together last week.

porcini gold

very pretty, but also poisonous

precious, delicious, favoritest huckleberries

You can see the rest of the foraging photos here. Oh, and don’t miss Kat’s photos of the lunch we had at my house afterward!

It’s hard to believe that just a few weeks ago, the mountains and forests around my house were a dangerous tinderbox. It was so severe, that my little mountain town postponed their annual Fourth of July fireworks display over the reservoir. Now that the southwest monsoons are in full swing, we have been graced with good soaking rains in the afternoons and some evenings of late. So on Saturday, our town had their lovely fireworks show and we stepped out to watch. Normally, we have to scope a spot out along the banks a couple of hours before dark. This time, it was drizzling rain and we found a prime location with minutes to go before nightfall.

I love fireworks. I love bright, colorful lights. Watching fireworks is one thing. Capturing fireworks in a photograph is another. You see a lot of details that you otherwise miss in real time. It’s all light trails and ballistic trajectories, mapping of color transitions. I love watching it happen live and then going home to see it in a wholly different way off my camera. I managed to get a few captures as the winds picked up and a driving rain began to pelt us sideways. It also plastered my lens with water such that the final photos were impressionistic blurs of color. Worth every second of getting soaked.

i’m partial to blue

i thought these looked like pine needles

this just makes me think of champagne

glittery and feathery (thanks to the winds)

You can view the whole series of the fireworks here.

Despite my canning kick this summer, I am still a fan of not canning. That is, I like the idea of making food for relatively immediate consumption. If I can avoid boiling water baths in summer, all the better. Summer for me is getting outside (okay, I do that all year), spending time with friends, enjoying the fruits of the season, appreciating paradise elevated to new levels. So it was a few weeks ago that Erin and I were hiking in the mountains and catching up with each other. Of course, as with most of my good friends, Erin and I always talk about food. She asked if I had tried Kitt’s refrigerator pickles yet. No, not yet…

pickling cucumbers

cukes, salt, dill seed, garlic, chiles, vinegar, whites of green onions (not shown: sugar)

there’s the sugar

I am a pickle fiend. I don’t think there is a pickle I’ve met that I didn’t like. Some folks like sweets, chocolates, cake, but me? Give me salty and vinegary snacks. I may or may not have finished a jar of pickles in one sitting before. Who can resist that puckery, spicy, crunchy, cold pickle? And refrigerator pickles are the easiest of them all to make – because they go in the refrigerator and you don’t have to can them. I just had to wait for pickling cucumbers to show up at the farmers market (or rather, for me to show up at the farmers market to get some) because I like crisp pickles.

cut off the ends

slice lengthwise into quarters

stem and seed the chiles

Kitt peels her cucumbers, but I like to leave the skin on mine. However, you do want to lop off the ends of the cucumbers. In particular, cut off the blossom end. According to Marisa, there is an enzyme on the blossom end that makes pickles limp. So yeah, make sure you get rid of that.

make the brine

pour hot brine over the cucumbers


Pack the cucumbers into a large enough jar, pour the hot brine over them, and let them cool. Pop the pickles into the refrigerator and commence snacking. Having made this recipe a couple of times already (because they are THAT good), I don’t notice too much difference between the batch made with shallots and the batch made with the whites of green onions. The smaller pickling cucumbers are slightly crunchier than their larger brethren, but both still deliver a nice bite to sink your teeth into. The pickles are tangy, slightly sweet, with a touch of garlic, dill, and heat. Great alongside a hot dog, burger, sandwich, barbecue, or solo!

hello lovelies

make a lot, so it won’t hurt as much to share

Refrigerator Pickles
[print recipe]
modified from this recipe by my friend Kitt

2 lbs. pickling cucumbers
4 Thai bird chile peppers, stems and seeds removed
2 1/2 cups water
2 cups apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
4 cloves garlic, smashed
2 shallots (or use the whites only of 8 green onions), minced
3 tbsps dill seed
3 tbsps salt

Note 1: Use pickling cucumbers, not those watery awful cucumbers you find in the grocery store. The smaller the pickling cucumber, the more crisp your pickle will be.

Note 2: Be sure to slice off the blossom end of the cucumber. Not sure which one that is? Slice both ends! The reason according to Marisa is that the blossom end contains an enzyme that leads to limp pickles – no one wants that!

Note 3: Kitt peels her cucumbers, I do not. I prefer the skin on for more crunchy action.

Wash the pickling cucumbers clean, then slice off the ends and cut lengthwise into quarters. Slice the chiles lengthwise. Pack the cucumbers and chiles into a 2-quart jar (or however you want to divvy it up). Place the water, vinegar, sugar, garlic, shallots (or onions), dill seed, and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Let it simmer for a couple of minutes. Pour the brine over the cucumbers and peppers. Seal the jar(s) and let sit on the counter until completely cooled. Store in the refrigerator. Makes approximately 2 quarts.

30 nibbles at “call me hawkeye”

  1. Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary says:

    I love pickles too! We find German pickles here in RI from time to time…they are wonderful!
    I’m going to give this recipe a try. Thanks!

  2. Memoria says:

    Those are the best firework photos I’ve ever seen. Wow!

  3. Jill says:

    I think the fireworks could look like pine needles, but they also look like the dry flies that TPH makes for fishing.
    You make everything look so simple…I want to try these! LOVE a good pickle.

  4. Heather says:

    I’m a pickle fiend, too! Looks like a great recipe, I will have to use it on my multitude of pickles. Did you know that the raw “cucumbers” you have pictured are technically pickles, not cucumbers? They are actually a totally different plant! My boyfriend’s uncle did his thesis for his Master’s of Ag on the difference between the two. Your firework photos are beautiful, by the way! I can never get mine quite right.

  5. Gail says:

    I never knew you could find porcini mushrooms in Colorado. I love your photos. Although I have never made pickles, these look so easy I may give them a try.

  6. Abbe @ This is How I Cook says:

    Beautiful photos! I am wondering are the pickles sweet or kosher style? And I am truly jealous of your porcini finding abilities. I have a wonderful porcini lasagne we could share if you ever wanted to part with some :)

  7. Rocky Mountain Woman says:

    Since I am completely overwhelmed with cucumbers right now, this is quite welcomed!!!

  8. Peggy says:

    I just found a random cucumber in my garden the other day – and I happen to have all of the ingredients for this pickle. I know what I’ll be doing this afternoon! PS – your photos are AMAZING! I’ve NEVER been able to get fireworks pictures look so beautiful!

  9. Eileen says:

    PICKLES. I canned a batch a week or so ago, but I definitely need to make a refrigerator batch for the immediate snacking. Hooray!

  10. Brandon @ Kitchen Konfidence says:

    Love the fireworks. Love the 1UP mushroom. Love these pickles. I’m thinking I would add some fresh dill to bump up the dill factor.

  11. Diane, A Broad says:

    Oh boy, I was just thinking of making my usual refrigerator pickles, but realized I don’t have any rice wine vinegar on hand. Maybe I’ll try it with cider vinegar, which I have plenty of. Thanks for the recipe!

  12. Kristin says:

    Hooray! Heading over to check out the fireworks photos. We were out of the country on the 4th (and thank you, we LOVED our trip to France), so I am thrilled to get my fireworks fix, especially since your photos are often better than seeing them live! Thanks for sharing!

  13. Lauren says:

    Is the sugar necessary for preservation or just for taste? could you also add fresh dill to make it more dilly?

  14. Mary @ Fit and Fed says:

    A mushroom expert friend is a very valuable kind of friend to have! I love getting my search pattern trained to different things, from fossils to berries to birds. Haven’t looked for mushrooms in quite a while– don’t have that expert friend locally– and haven’t tried pickles. I should try this refrigerator kind, it’s hard to find a good natural pickle in the store and these look easy.

  15. Joy says:

    The pickles look so good. My daughter could eat the whole batch.

  16. joey says:

    Love making pickles!! Although mine are usually of the one jar “makeshift” refrigerator variety :)

  17. jenyu says:

    Lisa – hope you enjoy it as much as I have (and all of my friends too!) :)

    Memoria – thank you.

    Jill – yes, I had a friend on twitter say the same thing about fishing flies! ;)

    Heather – I didn’t know! I did read something to that effect and wondered if it was a typo, but now I know! Thanks xo

    Gail – yes, apparently there are A LOT of porcinis in Colorado :)

    Abbe – these pickles are more kosher style with a little sweetness, but nothing like the sweet pickles.

    Rocky Mountain Woman – Color me jealous!!

    Peggy – awww, thank you xo

    Eileen – :)

    Brandon – yes, I think some fresh dill would be lovely. Good idea! I love dill :)

    Diane – try it! I bet you’ll like it!

    Kristin – you’re so sweet xo

    Lauren – it’s just for taste, so you could reduce or remove. I think the vinegar is what preserves it (although these are refrigerator pickles…) And yes, like Brandon said, I think fresh dill would be lovely to add to it.

    Mary – these are SUPER easy!

    Joy – I don’t blame her!

    joey – yes, these are refrigerator varieties which I love because it’s so easy and quick!

  18. na says:

    I made your pickles last night. The pickles are good, but the dilly ones I usually make for canning are slightly better. I think the sugar is putting me off a little. But the ease of preparation(instead of canning) is a HUGE plus. Do you think I can make these pickles without sugar next time?
    Thanks for the recipe :-)

  19. jenyu says:

    na – I’m pretty sure you can make the pickles any which way you like :)

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  21. Kathy Radigan says:

    I remember my parents making pickles, and since I love them have always wanted to make my own but the whole canning thing scares me, so I love this recipe. I’m going to make these with my fellow pickle lover, my daughter. Thanks!

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  26. Lori Dowty says:

    Hi :) saw your recipe on Pinterest and am going to try to make these with my pickle fiend daughters…I have need canned/pickled anything and just wondered…after you pour in the brine and you let them cool before putting in the fridge, do you get them cool open or close up the jars? Sorry if this seems like a silly question :)

  27. Lori Dowty says:

    Sorry…got autocorrected…have never canned or pickled anything before :)

  28. jenyu says:

    Lori – I’d let them cool closed. Good luck!

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