On this blog I’ve worked through most of the basic techniques and processes related to cooking and food prep: I’ve turned flour and water into bread with the help of yeast, I’ve harnessed enzymes to make cheese, and bacteria to make yogurt,  I’ve preserved, whipped, frothed, churned, infused, extracted, fermented, dehydrated, foraged, emulsified, and jellied, but, until today, I’ve never actually pickled anything.

Refrigerator pickles don’t require sterilization, so they’re a good first pickling project.  All you really need to do is heat the vinegar, salt and sugar until the solids dissolve, then add spices, pour the mixture over the cucumbers, seal and refrigerate.  You can eat them as soon as they’re chilled!

I put together an especially spicy pickling mix, with whole spices and hot peppers.  Since these are quick pickles, I beefed up the flavorings to make up for the short marinating time.  Toasting the whole spices first deepens their flavor.  I don’t strain them out, because I want them to keep flavoring the pickles as they sit in the jar.

You want to find small, unwaxed cucumbers. sometimes called pickling, or Kirby cucumbers. They are generally smaller, have thinner skin and fewer seeds.  If you want to use ready made pickling spice, use about 3 tablespoons in place of the whole spices.  Use wide mouth jars to make it easy to get your pickles in and out, I used Kerr wide mouth pint jars for this project.

Minimal Monday: Quick and Spicy Refrigerator Pickles

Yield: makes 2 wide mouth pint jars

Minimal Monday: Quick and Spicy Refrigerator Pickles


  • about 8 small pickling cucumbers
  • 2 fresh Serrano chili peppers, thinly sliced, seeds and all.
  • fresh tarragon sprigs
  • 2 bay leaves (fresh if you can find them)
  • 2 cups white or white wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 Tbsp rainbow pepper corns
  • 1 tsp allspice berries
  • 1 tsp whole coriander
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
  • 6 cardamom pods


  1. Cut off the stem end of your cucumbers so that they fit inside your jars, with their tips ending just below the rim. Cut them lengthwise into quarters. Fit the cucumber spears tightly in the jars, with a couple of sprigs of tarragon, the bay leaves, and the Serrano pepper slices fitted in between the spaces.
  2. Put the spices in a dry pan and toast over medium heat for a few minutes, shaking the pan often. Set aside.
  3. In a saucepan, heat the vinegar, sugar and salt, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar. Heat to a simmer, then turn off the heat and add the spices. Let cool.
  4. Pour the liquid into the jars, filling to cover the cucumber spears. Make sure the spices get into the jars as well.
  5. Cap the jars and refrigerate. You can eat them right away, but they will be more flavorful the next day. They will keep a couple of weeks in the refrigerator.

Have a great week!



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14 Responses to Minimal Monday: Quick and Spicy Refrigerator Pickles

  1. Norma says:

    Sue, I was wondering if jalapenos could be pickled with this method?

    • Sue says:

      I would guess so, I think I’ll try that this spring or summer Norma — let me know if you try and we’ll compare notes.

  2. Chris says:

    Hi Sue, can you add more cukes to the liquid after you have gobbled up the first batch?

  3. Jani says:

    These looked so amazing that I had to try them – just added the brine and have a fair amount leftover, but no more cucumbers. Any suggestions? I was thinking of maybe trying it with a sliced red onion …

  4. […] Get the recipe from The View From Great Island. […]

  5. Scotia says:

    Just so you will know. You need to cut both ends of the cucumber. The blossom end is where the enzymes are that keep ripening the cucumber, making it soft and mushy.

  6. Magnolia Verandah says:

    Never pickled either! How easy is that. Just perfect – must try.

  7. pickles! I have seen a few posts here and there about house made pickles, and am really excited to try making them again this year. I made some last year, but they lacked something, and i feel like this may be one of those things which requires some trial and error to get them just right. I love the recipe you have for these; sounds exactly like what i’d like in a pickle, for sure.

  8. Chris Scheuer says:

    How can someone make pickles look like a work of art! Only you Sue! They look delicious too!

  9. Eileen says:

    Hooray for first homemade pickles ever! I love how spicy these guys are, and the tarragon is really interesting. I have a pickling project marinating in my brain too–maybe I should get on that sooner rather than later!

  10. Valerie says:

    I could live on pickles. Quite happily! Congrats on your first venture into picklehood! They look so enticing – I’d want the entire jar! :D

  11. I love jars..filled with beauty..your fork and twine makes them even more charming..

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