Easy Fridge Pickles, Three Ways

I love pickled anything- cucumbers, carrots, red onions, beets, beans, etc. You name it and I will eat it pickled. I’ve spent years of my life buying and trying new pickle brands, and have my favorite store-bought varieties like any other pickle fan. A few years ago, though, I set out to find a recipe for homemade pickles that didn’t require canning. I ended up finding a super simple one that didn’t offer much guidance in terms of the aromatics to incorporate, and ultimately left me with sour, flavorless pickles.

Experimentation and a trip down the spice aisle at the grocery store was all I needed to figure out what spices lended themselves to delicious pickle varieties… and I’m not just talking about cucumbers. If you’ve never tasted a pickled green bean, you haven’t LIVED.

This recipe breaks down the three major components to a good pickle- the brine, the vegetables, and the aromatics. Once you’ve got the first two down, you can mix and match all sorts of spices and additions that will give you truly unique pickled vegetables. I have included three of my favorite recipes: Spicy Cardamom Carrots, Oregano Green Beans, and Garlic Peppercorn Sour Dills. However, don’t let my personal flavor opinions stop you from trying the veggies and aromatics that you love. Other veggies to pickle include okra, tomatoes, garlic cloves, onions, peppers, etc. Great aromatic additions to try include fresh or dried chili pepper varieties, horseradish (great with carrots!), fresh herbs like dill or rosemary, and other whole spices not listed in my recipe such as fennel seed, cumin seed, bay leaves, etc. You can also find pre-mixed “pickling spice” in most major grocery stores that will give you a nice, one-stop-shop, versatile blend. The opportunities are endless!

This is a really fun project for kids and adults that requires little-to-no effort. I hope you love these fridge pickles as much as I do! If you make them, don’t forget to share and tag me @theardentcook on Instagram!

Ingredients

For the Brine:

4 cups white vinegar

4 cups water

3.5 TBSP salt

2 TBSP sugar

For the Pickles

Small pickling cucumbers, halved lengthwise (enough to fill a jar)

Carrots, sliced into matchsticks (enough to fill a jar)

Green beans (enough to fill a jar)

For the Aromatics

Whole garlic cloves, peeled

Whole mustard seed

Whole coriander seed

Whole black peppercorns

Cardamom pods, lightly crushed

Crushed red pepper flakes or small, whole chili pepper

Ground turmeric, if bright green color is desired

Fresh oregano sprigs

Instructions

Make Brine:

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine vinegar, water, salt, and sugar. Bring to a boil and allow the mixture to cook for 1-2 minutes at a rolling boil.
  2. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Set aside while you assemble jars.

For the Spicy Cardamom Carrots

  1. Blanch matchstick carrots in boiling water, uncovered, for 1-2 minutes. Transfer immediately to an ice bath to stop cooking.
  2. When cool enough to handle, arrange carrots upright in a medium-large jar with a tight-fitting lid. I love to use old, store-bought pickle jars that have been washed.
  3. To the jar with the carrots, add 2 whole garlic cloves, ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes or 1 fresh chili pepper, ¼ tsp whole mustard seed, ¼ tsp whole coriander seed, a few whole black peppercorns, and 5-6 whole cardamom pods.
  4. Cover with brine- it’s okay if the brine is still hot.
  5. Allow jar to cool on the counter for at least 1 hour. Lid the jar and let cure in the fridge for at least 24 hours, but the longer the better.

For the Oregano Green Beans

  1. Blanch green beans in boiling water, uncovered, for 1-2 minutes. Transfer immediately to an ice bath to stop cooking.
  2. When cool enough to handle, arrange beans upright in a medium-large jar with a tight-fitting lid. I love to use old, store-bought pickle jars that have been washed.
  3. To the jar with the beans, add 2 whole garlic cloves, ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes or 1 fresh chili pepper, ¼ tsp whole mustard seed, ¼ tsp whole coriander seed, a few whole black peppercorns, and 1-2 sprigs fresh oregano (or 1/2 tsp dried).
  4. Cover with brine- it’s okay if the brine is still hot.
  5. Allow jar to cool on the counter for at least 1 hour. Lid the jar and let cure in the fridge for at least 24 hours, but the longer the better.

For the Garlic Peppercorn Sour Dills

  1. Arrange raw cucumbers upright in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. I love to use old, store-bought pickle jars that have been washed.
  2. To the jar with the cukes, add 3 whole garlic cloves, ¼ tsp whole mustard seed, ¼ tsp whole coriander seed, a few whole black peppercorns, ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes or 1 fresh chili pepper (for spicy pickles, or feel free to omit). If you desire that bright, neon green color characteristic of store-bought pickles, feel free to add 1/8 tsp ground turmeric before adding brine.
  3. Cover with brine- it’s okay if the brine is still hot.
  4. Allow jar to cool on the counter for at least 1 hour. Lid the jar and let cure in the fridge for at least 24 hours, but the longer the better.

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