Refrigerator pickles

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Recently, I’ve done a lot of stupid stuff. First, I cut my finger. Not badly, and it’s almost healed by now, but still, cutting your finger sucks. Then, I bumped a hot oven with my arm. Burn 1. I stuck my hand in 171F water. Burn 2. A couple days later, I decide to go for a long run. Three-fourths the way through, I trip on nothing and scrape my knee like a little kid. I ran home with blood running down my leg, and no one said anything to me. I was really surprised about that, actually.

Needless to say, I keep finding myself in a pickle. (Particularly on the run. I decided running home was the best option, though, instead of walking or trying to find a first aid kit or bathroom to deal with the mess somewhere around Duke.) I can hope these mess-ups will stop, but knowing me, I’m pretty clumsy, and they may temporarily resolve, but something will always come back. However, instead of only having bad pickles in my life, I’ve decided to have some good ones.

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And these pickles happen to be very, very good.

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In terms of literal pickles, these are my favorite. These are sweet and tangy, crisp, crunchy and refreshing. Every time my grandma made these in the summer when I was a kid, I’d pluck some out of the container in her fridge every day for lunch until they were gone. They’re cool and refreshing, the perfect antidote to the South in the summer. They don’t need much time to cure, and no canning equipment is required. All you do is make a quick brine for the vegetables to soak in and chop up some cucumbers, adding onion and green pepper for a nice garnish and additional flavor.

These refrigerator pickles are the perfect accompaniment to any sandwich, and they’re a welcome sight in the fridge when you have no ideas what to make for dinner. A big scoop of pickles, a tomato, and some pita chips can pass for a meal, right? Well, that’s what I’ve been passing off for a few lunches recently, and I’ll keep doing so until they’ve disappeared. And they are so much better than any store-bought pickles that I’ll need to keep a steady batch of them at the ready until cold weather comes around again. That won’t be for a while, so there’s plenty of time to stock up on cucumbers and load up the fridge.

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Refrigerator pickles
makes about 8 cups
five-stars

1 ½ cups white vinegar
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon celery seed
1 tablespoon table salt
7 cups sliced cucumbers, about 6 medium
1 cup diced yellow onions, 1 medium
1 cup diced green pepper, 1 medium

 

1. Stir together the vinegar, sugar, celery seed and salt in a medium saucepan. Set over medium high heat, and bring to a boil. Set the brine aside to cool, or place the pot in a larger pot filled with ice water to cool faster.

2. Toss together the cucumbers, onions and green pepper in a large plastic container with a tight-sealing lid. (Use two containers if you don’t have one that’s large enough for everything.) Pour the brine over the vegetables and stir to ensure that each piece of cucumber has been coated. Some pieces won’t be as submerged as others.

3. Snap on the lid, and refrigerate. Flip the container once daily for four days, putting the container on a tray in case it leaks. After the fourth day, the pickles are ready. They will keep for a month in the refrigerator.

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