Updated: 5 days ago
As some of you know, I'm not exactly a fan of summertime. This chunky chick prefers the cool temps of the other three seasons! However, I realize that we have GOT to endure the hot humid days if we want to enjoy the benefits of the season, namely TOMATOES, CUCUMBERS, OKRA, and WATERMELON!! I swear, the mere thought of a big, fat, homegrown tomato can't help but bring a smile to the face! At least to my face! Brad and I talk of tomato sandwiches in January. A store-bought tomato will not do! It has to be one you've grown yourself, one a neighbor gave you, or one you bought at a road-side stand from an old-timer named Fred. It's that simple. And for that reason, we grow our own tomatoes in the summer. But you can only eat just so many tomato sandwiches. Once you've canned enough for the pantry to last you through the year, the vines are still churning out tons of maters! That's when these pickles come into play. Refrigerator pickles to the rescue!
So, what is a refrigerator pickle? It's basically any vegetable you thinly slice and let sit in the refrigerator in a brine solution. See if you can name all the things that went into the salad you see to the right! There's cucumbers, of course, TOMATOES, because pickled tomatoes are divine!! What else? Well, there's onions, there's a few green beans, fresh dill, and green tomatoes! When I tell you I used green tomatoes, I'm not referring to a variety of tomato. I'm simply referring to a tomato that is not ripe, so feel free to use any type of tomato you happen to come across. Unripe cherry tomatoes are so dang tart, I tend to skip them when I make this salad. But if you want to pucker up, then by all means, add them to yours!
So what makes a pickle pickled? Good question! Pickles have been around for as long as man has been walking around on Earth. Why is that, you may wonder. Well, it's pretty simple. The pickling process is a form of food preservation. It helps to extend the life of fresh produce by the introduction of salt and vinegar. A fermented pickle is a different animal, relying on salt, water, and Mother Nature. But that's a blog post for another day.
Refrigerator pickles call for vinegar. I like to use plain white vinegar in my pickles. An alternative would be apple cider vinegar. I don't particularly care for the flavor of cider vinegar in my pickles because it tends to fall on the "sweet" taste side of the palate, and I want MY refrigerator pickles to be salty and tart, not sweet. The same applies to balsamic vinegar. It is very sweet, and for my taste, it just doesn't compliment these pickles. So that's why I use the white vinegar. It's pungent, tart, and the flavor (when combined with salt) delivers the perfect pickle punch!
How are refrigerator pickles different than a jar or pickles you buy at the store? That's easy enough to explain! Store bought pickles are made with a much higher vinegar to water ratio than a refrigerator pickle, which allows them to be processed for a considerable shelf life. Refrigerator pickles aren't intended for extended storage. They are meant to be eaten within a few days of making them. You could even argue that a refrigerator pickle is more of a 'salad' than a true pickle. But all my life they've been known as refrigerator pickles and so shall they remain! And whatever you happen to call them, just know they are delicious!! The tutorial video posted below will walk you through the steps of making these lovely "pickles" yourself. I hope you try the recipe and let me know how you like them. I think you'll be hooked!!
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Recipe for downloading or printing:
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