Pickling used to be a daunting task, but home cooks hip on preserving are realizing there’s no need to make a special trip to the farmers’ market for enormous bags of cucumbers — pickles can be done quickly, in small batches, just enough for a single jar in the fridge. When you find yourself with a few small stray cucumbers, you can have a batch of crisp, snappy pickles in minutes. No processing, no fermenting. Easy.
Think of these as marinated cukes — with no need to ferment, they require only a day of sitting in the fridge to allow their flavors to develop and permeate the cucumber slices. Play around with quantities — add a pinch of chili flakes for a bit of heat, or more sugar for sweeter pickles.
Quick Refrigerator Pickles
1/2 cup white, rice or cider vinegar
2-3 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. mustard seed or pickling spice mix
1 tsp. salt
1 garlic clove, smashed
a sprig of fresh dill, chopped (optional)
2-4 small cucumbers, sliced on a slight angle
Heat small saucepan over medium high heat. Add vinegar, sugar, mustard seed, salt, and garlic to the pan and cook until it begins to simmer and sugar dissolves. Toss the dill, bay leaf, and sliced cucumbers together in a heat-proof bowl. Pour the simmering liquid over the cucumbers and stir to evenly coat.
Allow to cool to room temperature and chill for a day or two before serving.