Sunday, May 30, 2010

Ice Box Pickles

Looking for something different to do with fresh cucumbers? My parents have been supplying me with some delicious vegetables from their garden--including a variety of different cucumbers. A lot of gardeners make pickles with their excess cucumbers, but to be honest, I don't like most homemade pickles, this is one area that I much prefer store-bought.

I make an exception for these "ice-box" or refrigerator pickles, though!

These are not really a traditional heat-packed "pickled" cucumber, this is more like a cucumber salad with a vinegar-based dressing. They're light, delicious, and will keep almost indefinitely in the fridge. I don't even bother to put mine in jars, I just use a big Tupperware bowl that I replenish from time to time.

You'll need these ingredients:
  • 2 c sugar
  • 1 c vinegar
  • 1-2 t salt
  • 7 c thinly sliced cucumbers
  • 1 thinly sliced or chopped onion (I used the equivalent in dried onion flakes, 2 T)
  • 1 t celery seeds
In a small saucepan, mix together the sugar, vinegar, and salt, and heat just until the sugar and salt are completely dissolved, stirring constantly. Some recipes tell you to include the celery seed in this mixture--big mistake--you won't be able to scrape them all out, it makes a mess, and all about avoiding a mess in the kitchen.
Meanwhile, slice the cucumbers and onions (I used my food processor, but you could use a mandolin slicer). Spinkle the celery seed on top, along with the onion flakes if you use dried like me.

When the vinegar mixture is completely cool, pour over the cucumbers, onions, and celery seed, and stir well. You'll think at this point that this is not enough liquid for the amount of cucumbers that you have, but stir to coat as well as you can, then cover and refrigerate.
The cucumbers will wilt down slightly and release some of their juices and you'll have plenty of liquid. At this point you can put it in jars, if you like, but because they aren't heat packed or sealed, they must be kept refrigerated at all times. I usually just leave mine in the bowl. As they start to get eaten, you'll end up with lots of excess liquid--I just slice more cucumbers and add to the bowl. After a while, I discard and start a new one, but you can replenish the cucumbers at least once or twice, depending on how fast you eat them.

My mother adds just a little diced red and/or green bell peppers to hers for color; I don't care for bell pepper, so I've never added it to mine.

I have a cousin who likes to take the same vinegar-sugar mixture and use it over a combination of cucmbers and halved grape or cherry tomatoes. I've never done this, but it sounds delicious, I can just imagine what a pretty salad it would make.

As you know if you've been reading the last couple of weeks, I'm off of sugar for a while. I made these for the first time today using Splenda instead of sugar, and they came out wonderfully! The Splenda dissolved almost immediately in the vinegar, but because the mixture was slightly cloudy, and I still needed to dissolve the salt, I heated it literally 30-60 seconds, stirring constantly. Not ony did the salt dissolve, the Splenda combined even more and the mixture became clear. Once cool, I poured it over the cucmber/dried onion/celery seed mixture and it did great. I've already tasted them, and can't wait to dig into some more later.

This recipe is linked to:
Meatless Monday at Chaya's Sweet and Savory
Tasty Tuesday at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam
Tempt My Tummy Tuesday at Blessed with Grace
Tuesdays at the Table at All the Small Stuff
What's Cooking Wednesday at Tales from the Fairy Blogmother
Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum
Recipe Swap at The Grocery Cart Challenge
Delicious Dishes at It's a Blog Party
Whats on the Menu Wednesday at Dining with Debbie

Until next time, good cooking, and good eating!


  1. These look yummy! Thanks for posting the recipe.

  2. Charlene, my hubby is going to thank you for this recipe. I thank you for the blintzes.

    Thanks for linking both of them to My Meatless Mondays.

  3. My MIL makes these and they are delicious! I was making them once and got distracted - I used lemon juice instead of vinegar and had lemonade cucumbers. They weren't as bad as you'd think :)

  4. These look amazing too! You are full of good recipes!! :)

  5. Yummy, thanks for sharing the recipe! I have not made pickles in years, have made bread and butter ones, years ago! Don't have the recipe anymore, but they were delicious!


  6. This is very similar to my mom's recipe -- and we love them!!

  7. These look delicious! Thanks for the recipe!

  8. Oh wow! These look great, think my husband might even eat them! (Maybe.) We'll have cucumbers from the garden soon and I didn't know what to do with them. Thank you!

  9. Looks delicious!
    Thanks for linking up!