Refrigerator Pickles and Vegetables

This is a great recipe for those of us that don’t can fruits and vegetables. I wish I could do the canning bit but I think I’m somewhat intimidated by the whole process. Even my dad who was an accomplished Southern cook did not can. He used the freezer to preserve the vegetables he grew.

I did have a lot of older aunts who canned. In fact, I remember peeling peaches for one of my favorite aunts. My reward was always several jars of delicious canned peaches. Now these were not just any kind of peach but the famous Georgia peaches that a local Farm Stand sold during the Georgia peach season. I don’t have any photos of what she canned but they would have looked something like this.


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I never would have guessed that it was Napoleon Bonaparte that inspired the idea for canning foods. Looking for ways to feed his army during his war with Europe, he offered a reward to whomever could develop a safe, reliable food preservation for his constantly traveling army. A Frenchman by the name of Nicolas Appert received the reward for preserving food by sterilization. Now that really wasn’t the beginning of home canning, because it wasn’t until the mid 1860’s that home canning came into being. This was when a tin smith by the name of John L. Mason invented the Mason Jar. For more on the interesting history of canning see this article from

This recipe is a perfect substitute for home canning. It is adapted from Nancy Fuller and the original recipe can be found here. If you check out her recipe, be aware there is a mistake in the amount of salt listed for her recipe on Food Network.

Nancy has a show on the Food Network called Farmhouse Rules. I really like the show because she uses fresh and local ingredients in her recipes. In fact, she is always saying “fresh is best”. If you haven’t seen her show, check it out. She is definitely not your average Food Network host.

Refrigerator Pickles and Vegetables

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

2 small cucumbers, cut into spears
1 large cucumber, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 cup mini sweet peppers, cut into rings
1 cup cauliflower florets
1/4 red onion, cut into slices
1 cup pearl onions
2 cups white vinegar
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
2 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds
1 tablespoon celery seeds
1-2 sprigs fresh dill, optional

Tightly pack the cucumbers, peppers, cauliflower, red onion, pearl onions and dill in a large glass jar with a lid. A quart mason jar with lid works very well.

In a medium saucepan, heat the vinegar, water, sugar, salt, mustard and celery seeds until boiling and the sugar is dissolved. Use a funnel to pour the pickling liquid over the vegetables to cover completely. Let cool to room temperature, then cover tightly and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. The pickles will keep, refrigerated, up to two weeks.


1. Red bell pepper sliced in 1/4 inch strips can be used in place of the mini sweet peppers.
2. This brining liquid can be used to pickle cucumbers and onions in individual jars as I did and shown here in this picture.


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