I’ve harvested a few of the Straight 8 slicing cucumbers already but this was my first harvest of my pickling cukes. I’m growing Picklebush and Homemade Pickles this year. I haven’t gotten into canning yet but it is on my “must learn” list. Luckily, pickles are easy to make without actually canning them. It’s called refrigerator pickles and it’s perfect for small space gardeners or just those who don’t need a ton of pickles.
It’s pretty much just as it sounds. Cram a bunch of cucumbers into a jar. Pour in the brine and seasonings and stick it in the fridge for a few days. Eat them up in the next few weeks. There are countless recipes online. I think you can even find pre-made seasoning packets for refrigerator pickles in the canning section of grocery stores. I haven’t used those since they usually have a bunch of ingredients that we try to avoid. The “from scratch” recipes can be very simple so there’s really no need to buy those packets.
The photo above is just over 2lbs of cukes which filled two quart jars nicely. The larger ones are a bit bigger than I normally like. The big cucumbers will have more seeds which isn’t great for pickles. Pick ’em small. I wasn’t watching the plants closely so we were a bit surprised to have cucumbers ready. Since we weren’t planning on making these quite yet, I searched around for a recipe using what we had on hand. It was very simple which is why you don’t see a bunch of spices and onions floating around in there. The recipe had fantastic reviews so we gave it a try and the kids love it!
Refrigerator pickles are great for getting the kids into the kitchen. It’s super easy for the little ones too. And what kid doesn’t like pickles?! Comedian (who is now 3) counted the cucumbers and lined them up by size. We also compared the weight to see which ones were the heaviest. Often times parents and teachers want to know how to get the kids involved in the garden. It’s really not that hard. There’s no curriculum needed. No worksheets. There’s no need to make it complicated. Just plant, harvest, sort, prepare the food and then EAT. And talk about what you’re doing as you do it. That’s it!