Philacatessen | Refrigerator Pickles


Pickling has become a major culinary trend.

It is beyond my culinary patience to go all out with sterilized jars, rubber seals and huge batches, but any fool can make refrigerator pickles. I am living proof of this fact.

I brought home four adorable cucumbers from the Sunday farmers market and they became refrigerator pickles. Here’s the story:

I’m still in the honeymoon phase with the return of the weekly market, and I’m featuring new discoveries with each week’s purchases. This particular jaunt delivered what I thought would be crisp, refreshing, delicious cucumbers; the four small kirbys that I brought looked promising. I unwisely ignored the sign that said “pickling cucumbers.”

When I got home from the market, I enthusiastically sliced the cukes for a lunchtime salad. Nibbling on a piece before tossing the stack into the bowl, I found the flavor to be slightly bitter and not at all what I had anticipated.

I was torn; I refused to waste the just-bought veggies, but I didn’t want a bitter taste in my salad. I opened the fridge to search for an alternative lunch, and my eye caught the container of pickles I had purchased earlier that week at Beiler’s in Reading Terminal Market. I then hit on the brain wave to follow the advice of the honest farmer who sold me the cucumbers.

Kind of like turning lemons into lemonade, these pickles are crisper than those generally found in jars on supermarket shelves; they closely mimic green pickles or half sour pickles found in the refrigerated section of the grocery store, at delis or in specialty shops.

I adore them — they complement a sandwich or salad for lunch, they can be chopped and sprinkled on hummus or mixed into tuna salad, or just munched as a snack.

Refrigerator Pickles

4 kirby cucumbers (these are a shorter varietal, about 3 to 4 inches long)

1 cup pickle juice reserved from a jar or container of your favorite pickles

Rinse the cucumbers and slice them into spears or discs.

Place them in pickle juice until submerged; cover tightly and refrigerate. These keep for up to two weeks — or possibly longer — they don’t last in my house.


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