Pickle Potions

Our magical pickle potion ingredients.

Our magical pickle potion ingredients.

With some care around sharp knives and hot stoves, refrigerator pickles are a great project to share with kids (or a quick evening diy project for yourself). During the tropical storm, we made pickles at my house. The eight year old loves stories about magic and decided we were making a potion. She was on to something. Refrigerator pickles are magic. You assemble your herbs and spices, stir brine in your cauldron-pot, and wait at least two days for your humble cucumbers to transform into something crunchy, spicy and new.

Read this post, Fridge Pickles Your Way, from Mark Bittman’s blog . It gives you guidelines for improvising your own refrigerator pickles with ingredients you might already have at home. If you want to follow a more specific recipe, that’s there, too.

Here’s how we made three pints of magic pickles. The onions & spices we used are all optional. Mix and match to create your own favorite flavors.

3 medium-large cucumbers

Several slices of red onion (optional)

6 garlic cloves (optional)


1 ½ cups apple cider vinegar

3 cups water

¼ cup salt (kosher or sea salt-don’t use iodized salt. It will make your pickles taste like iodine. You could use less salt, too.)


½ cup mixture of:  dill seed, whole dried lemon aji chilies (from last year’s E.A.T. South garden), red chili flakes, whole peppercorns

(Experiment with seasonings. You could use oregano, rosemary, tumeric, ginger. What flavors do you like?)

The pickle potion is complete.

The pickle potion is complete.

Slice cucumbers into thin rounds. Slice onions into strips. Peel garlic cloves. Tuck cucumbers, whole garlic cloves and onions into jars, sprinkling the seasoning mixture over the vegetables as you go. (We used two pint and two half pint jars for this recipe because that was what was in the cabinet.)

Heat brine ingredients over medium heat in a stainless steel, enamel or glass pot to dissolve salt. Stir your your cauldron carefully. Once the salt dissolves, pour brine into jars over cucumber slices. Cover, and place in refrigerator.

These pickles should keep for a month or more in the refrigerator, but hopefully, they’re so good you’ll eat them all up.

Safety note: These pickles are not canned. They’re not shelf stable and must be refrigerated. If you are canning pickles, you must follow the recipe exactly (and the recipe has to be written for canned pickles) to create the conditions that stop the growth of bacteria and botulism. Do not improvise or change recipe proportions when you can things. For refrigerator and freezer recipes, you have a little more room to try different things.