The Pickle Experiment: Overnight Refrigerator Pickles


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The Pickle Experiment: How do you make healthy, raw pickles without taking the time to ferment them? That was the burning question of the week (at least in my mind). I bet it’s been keeping you awake at night as well!


It all started a few weeks ago when my husband and I had a unique date night. We went to a cooking class at one of my favorite stores, Whisk, located in Cary, NC. The class was Low Country Shellfish Boil, and since my husband is Cajun, I figured that would be the one for him! We learned how to do a boil, the Charlestown way, which was new to both of us. Additionally we were given ideas for putting on a full spread, from appetizers to dessert, with relative ease.


As an appetizer, we ate pickled baby vegetables. With each crunchy bite, I became more convinced that I would have to make these at home. After a little research and a trip through my cucumber patch, I was ready to begin The Pickle Experiment!


Although I could easily ferment some cucumbers (I have sauerkraut fermenting on my counter right now) I wanted to try a quick and easy version, similar to what I tasted at the class. However, I still wanted to use raw, healthful ingredients, with some probiotic value. So, I decided to use Bragg’s raw apple cider vinegar and unrefined sea salt.


(If you want to learn more about the health benefits of RAW apple cider vinegar, aka ACV, click here to read an article from Dr. Mercola.)


I had a shallot that I needed to use, so I thinly sliced it and placed some in each jar.


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I looked through my spice cabinet and found a number of different seeds that I rarely use. They don’t keep their freshness forever, so I tossed some in, along with a bay leaf.


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I had already sliced my cucumber spears, so it was time to cram them in.


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Now to make the brine mixture. I used equal parts apple cider vinegar and water, with some sea salt. (More on this later.)


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Then I simply poured it over my cukes, and closed the lid. Into the refrigerator they went!


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The next day, I tasted them.


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Too sour! What to do? I pulled out my local, raw honey and added a bit. 


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That was better. I just needed a small amount to take away the bite, without turning them into sweet pickles.


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A few days later, I went into my garden and picked another cucumber. (They seem to grow overnight!) As I searched through my refrigerator I found fresh ginger and horseradish. Why not?


I cut slices of the ginger and horseradish and crushed a garlic clove. 


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This time, I threw in some allspice berries and cumin seeds. I sliced a few peppers to add as well.


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I mixed up the brine, but this time I reduced the vinegar to water ratio since using equal parts was too tart the first time. I added sea salt and honey, then poured it over the vegetables.


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The next day, I tried them out. They were much milder. Almost perfect, but I think I need to find a middle ground. That will have to wait until my cucumbers grow a little more. I’ll let you posted!


The pickles can be eaten after just sitting for a few hours, but they get better after 3-4 days. 


A friend told me she makes a similar brine for her pickles, using the apple cider vinegar, but then lets them sit out on the counter for 3-4 days to ferment a little bit. When I ferment, I don’t use vinegar and I let my veggies stay at room temperature for about 3 weeks. I’ll have to try the hybrid version that my friend recommended.


Fermented vegetables, like pickles last almost indefinitely in the refrigerator (store there after they’ve finished fermenting). The overnight refrigerator pickles should be eaten within 30 days. If you finish them off before then, which is very likely, just add more veggies to the brine, discarding the brine after a total of 30 days.


I’m posting The Pickle Experiment recipes under Miscellaneous, even though I haven’t finalized them. If you try them, let me know what you think!

© Bobbi Mullins 2011, All rights reserved. FOOD FITNESS FAITH™