Making Pickles Without A Stove: A Guide To Making Refrigerator Pickles
One of the few things that did even mildly well in my greenhouse this summer were my two cucumber plants. I say mildly because after getting about 10-12 fruits, everything else died before it could get a growth spurt going. This small number of cucumbers did not, in my opinion, warrant heating up my kitchen and slaving over a hot stove. But, I couldn't possibly eat them fast enough. So, I went searching on the internet for suggestions about what to do with them. To my great surprise, I found out that yes, you can pickle without cooking.
The ingredients called for white wine vinegar, distilled white vinegar, brown sugar, mustard seed, peppercorns, fresh dill, and a couple herbs that I don't have. Since I adore garlic, lots of fresh cloves were added as well. Habaneros would have been added as well, but then my husband and young son wouldn't touch them. I didn't have dill and went to the grocery store to buy some. There were a few bunches in a water-filled bucket and not being sure if that really was dill, I stood in the middle of the produce area holding some in my hands, looking completely lost because there wasn't a store employee anywhere in sight. A woman walked by and asked if I lived in her general vicinity, and as it turns out, we live only a mile away from each other. She told me to go put back what was in my hand, saying she had plenty of dill that reseeded itself from last year, she wasn't going to make any more pickles and didn't know what to do with all the remaining dill. After giving me her address, we parted ways.
As it became later in the evening, I realized the pickles weren't going to be made. In the process of putting the dill into a vase of water, I looked down and noticed my arms were covered in little green aphids. Gross. I gingerly took the vase outside and sat it on the front deck for the evening. The next day, after multiple shakes and rinses in water and some diatomaceous earth to rid the dill of aphids, I began putting together all the ingredients for my much-anticipated pickles. I sliced the cucumbers lengthwise and put them into clean quart jars. Next, all the ingredients were mixed in a stainless steel bowl and then poured into the cucumber-filled jars until everything is covered. Lids were put on and jars placed in the refrigerator for 48 hours. They probably could have come out at 24 hours, but I went camping that night, so they had an extra day of pickling.
Two days later, I took a jar out of the refrigerator, opened it up to pull out a pickle and realized my efforts at aphid-cleansing had not been completely successful. There were a few floating in the pickling liquid. Oh well, I thought to myself, just some added protein. My husband and another friend each tried them and didn't have any gastric upset. For something so incredibly easy, the pickles were absolutely delicious. And, you couldn't taste the aphids!