Sweet and Spicy Refrigerator Pickles

My friend, a talented cook and devoted mother, made a version of these pickles and served them with burgers for a cook-out on Saturday night.  Or at least, it was her intention to serve them with burgers.  Sitting out on the counter, most of us found these pickles impossible to resist and I have to say we made a dent in the batch before the burgers were even on the grill. It’s easy to see why.

Crisp, cold and wonderfully spicy these pickles are required eating during the hot, sultry days of August.   Refreshing and addictive, they are delicious alone, mouth-watering on burgers, and will easily be the best part of any sandwich.   And just to seal the deal on these being a fabulous addition to your fridge, they don’t require any cooking.

I adapted this pickle recipe from Sara Foster’s cookbook Fresh Every Day.  She affectionately refers to it as Mom’s ‘Fridge Pickles.  I tweaked the recipe somewhat to avoid a trip to the grocery store.  I substituted a shallot for the small yellow onion (I love the touch of color it adds) and used 2 teaspoons of pickling spices (McCormick makes a blend) in place of the spices she suggests.  The recipe requires just a bit of prep and about 4 hours of refrigeration before you can dig in.  But I think you’ll agree, it makes a lot of goodness in just a short amount of time.

Sweet and Spicy Refrigerator Pickles
 – Printer Friendly Recipe
Makes about 1 quart
Adapted from Sara Foster’s Fresh Every Day cookbook

5 Kirby cucumbers, ends trimmed
1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
1 cup white vinegar
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons pickling spices
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes*
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Peel the cucumbers in stripes and cut into ¼-inch thick rounds.  Toss the cucumber slices with the sliced shallot in a small bowl and set aside.

In another small bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients until the sugar and salt dissolves.  Pour the mixture into a clean quart container or divide between smaller jars.

Add the cucumbers and shallot to the quart container (or smaller jars) and layer them, pressing down with a spoon.  Place the lid on the container and shake well.  Refrigerate for four hours, shaking occasionally, before serving.  Pickles will keep for about 1 month in the refrigerator (not that they’ll last that long!).

*If you can’t stand the heat, feel free to omit or reduce the crushed red pepper flakes in this recipe.

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