Vegetable gardens (like blogs) are usually started with best laid plans and intentions. However, as the growing season slowly progresses, some of those plans wither behind the twin evils of neglect and unseen challenges.
For the Kirby cucumbers plants we planted, the big challenges were being crowded out by rapacious tomato plants and the same powdery mildew that throttled back our zucchini plants.
This was a blow, since we are a family of pickle fans. We can easily go through a jar a week: slices, minis, spears, wholes – they are voraciously consumed as both condiments and snacks in our household.
So making our own pickles from cucumbers grown in our own dirt seemed just the thing to do when planning out our vegetable garden for the summer. Despite the fact that any of the local Madison Farmers Markets we visit have heaps of good pickling cucumbers most of the summer for around have the price we paid for one plant.
And since we got just one jar’s worth of cucumbers from our two plants that cost around 4 bucks each, we aren’t candidates for the Thrifty Gardener award this year. And even those were so lopsided and twisted, they made using a mandolin a finger threatening ordeal.
So last week we stopped by the Fitchburg Farmers market and picked up a couple pounds of beautiful (and mandolin friendly!) Kirby cucumbers and immediately started slicing them into perfect rounds. The inspiration recipe we followed was from Smitten Kitchen, with the only tweak being dropping the dill fronds and adding crushed garlic cloves for a spicier pickle. What we love about this recipe is that it doesn’t involve all the work on a hot stove that traditional canning does, and it can be done in less than 15 minutes – which is why they are “Quickles”.
These are about as easy as it gets to make and can last a couple of weeks in the fridge, but they never last long enough in our house for us to find out.
Quick Refrigerator Pickles – “Quickles”
Start by slicing the cucumbers thinly – best done with a v-slicer or a mandolin. The ones in the photo are a bit thicker than what we’ve done in the past, but they still seemed to work well.
Fill a standard mason jar, or any glass jar with a lid you feel comfortable shaking. Since you aren’t actually “canning” these, you can be a little flexible. Add any other flavor options as well (garlic, dill, fennel, onions, etc.)
For a quart size mason jar, add around 3 teaspoons of salt and 1/2 cup of white vinegar. Tighten lid and shake well. That’s it. Just shake the jar every time you’re poking around in the fridge, and these should be ready for a taste in a couple of hours.
As we said, these should last a couple of weeks in your fridge, however ours almost never do.