Dinner is different this time of year. We eat inside in the winter, around the table, sitting in chairs, using silverware and our generally passable manners. In the summer, routine slips to the side for either a quick bite or a leisurely gathering. We eat outside, where our main course is usually something off of the grill, accompanied by whatever is particularly abundant at the market. This week, we have plenty of pickling cukes, which means we have lots and lots of sweet, vinegary, delicious refrigerator pickles at home.
This particular refrigerator pickle recipe has graced our family’s summer tables for as long as I can remember, and I only have to look once at the stained index card where it is written to remember the right proportions of ingredients for the whole summer. This year, I looked a little more carefully as I thought about posting it here. I had to laugh. At the bottom of the refrigerator pickle recipe, someone had written “Ready in a few days.” …Ha!
These are good enough that they have never EVER lasted a few days (and I have never read close enough to notice that particular instruction). We make them, sneak pickles out of the bowl until dinner, and then eat them up. If they taste that delicious after only a few hours, I can only imagine how good they would be if we could wait.
A quart of pickling cucumbers
1 medium sweet onion, sliced thin
1 T. salt
1 T. celery seed
¾ C. sugar
½ C. distilled white vinegar
Slice your cucumbers thin, with the skin on. Combine with onion. (You can also chop a medium green pepper and include that here. The recipe on my index card calls for it, and I remember it being good. Still, I never add that because we like plain old pickles.)
Sprinkle with salt and celery seed and let everything rest for an hour. The salt will pull liquid from the cucumbers and they will pretty much be covered. Wisk together your sugar and your vinegar. Pour the mixture over your vegetables and stir to blend. Cover and refrigerate.
It is true that these refrigerator pickles will be ready in a few days, but it is also true that they will be ready enough in about an hour. In fact, if you taste them right away, they will still be pretty good. This is a great picnic side dish and is also wonderful on hotdogs or brats.
See you at the market.