How to Pickle Pickles (Refrigerator Pickles that is)
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Peter picked a peck of pickled pickles. I had to get that out. We refer to these as Mалосольные Oгурцы (Low Sodium Dill Pickles). This is a recipe for quick dill pickles. It’s ready after sitting overnight (unlike most recipes that take 6 or 7 days!).
The pickles marinate in the “brine” which is less salty and acidic than most pickling brines. The resulting cucumber is lower sodium and retains it’s crispness; leaving you with a much fresher tasting peck of pickles (couldn’t help myself).
It’s kind of like the kosher-style dill pickles you’d buy in the refrigerator section. When properly refrigerated, the pickles can last 1-2 weeks (maybe longer, but we’ve always eaten them before that).
Ingredients for Refrigerator Pickles:
3 liters or 3 quarts jar
3 lb of small-medium cucumbers
7 cloves of garlic
4 stems of dill
2 small roots of horseradish, optional
10-15 whole black peppers
3 Tbsp of table salt
Filtered cold water
How to Make Kosher-Style Dill Pickles:
1. Wash and cut off both ends of the cucumbers. Pack them into a jar with some room left at the top.
2. Cut garlic cloves into 2-3 pieces, roughly cut up dill, slice up your horseradish root* and add everything in the jar, including black pepper. *Mom happens to have horseradish root growing in her yard. It grows back on it’s own every year. It is optional in this recipe but supposedly helps the pickles stay fresh longer.
3. Dissolve 3 Tbsp of salt in 6 cups(1.5 quarts) of filtered water and fill the jar. Make sure that cucumbers are covered completely in water.
4. Let the jar sit at room temperature, covered loosely with a cheesecloth or lid for 24 hours (cucumbers should be fully submerged. If they are not, weight them down with something). Refrigerate pickles afterwards. They are best served cold. It will keep at least 1 week in the fridge.
How to Pickle Pickles (Refrigerator Pickles that is)
- 3 liters or 3 quarts jar
- 3 lb of small-medium cucumbers
- 7 cloves of garlic
- 4 stems of dill
- 2 small roots of horseradish, optional
- 10-15 whole black peppers
- 3 tbsp of table salt
- Filtered cold water
Wash and cut off both ends of the cucumbers. Pack them into a jar with some room left at the top.
Cut garlic cloves into 2-3 pieces, roughly cut up dill, slice up your horseradish root and add everything in the jar, including black pepper.
Dissolve 3 tbsp of salt in 6 cups(1.5 quarts) of filtered water and fill the jar. Make sure that cucumbers are covered completely in water.
Let the jar sit at room temperature, covered loosely with a cheesecloth or lid for 24 hours (cucumbers should be fully submerged. Refrigerate pickles afterwards. They are best served cold.
Note: Some varieties of homegrown cucumber can taste a little bitter. If cucumbers are bitter, cut off the ends and let them soak for 2 hours in water to get rid of bitterness.
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Hello from BC, Canada! Love your blog and I have made and recommended many of your recipes. With the exception of the salted water, are the amounts per jar? Like 7 cloves, 4 sprigs dill, etc,?
I can’t wait to make these as the ones we made with another recipe we’re just okay.
Hi, that is the total amount needed for a 3-quart jar.
Had mold in the jar within a week.
Hi Robert, that is very unsual. Make sure to thoroughly wash your jar and cucumbers and any other ingredients and definitely keep it refrigerated. If it is left at room temperature longer than indicated, that can occur.
If I don’t have horseradish is it ok
Hi Sue, it adds flavor but will work without it. You can add a couple extra garlic cloves if you wish instead.
Do you use pickling cucumbers or just regular?
I just used small homegrown cucumbers.
Very curious .. I will certainly try this recipe.
Question: I see that there is no vinegar in this recipe. I presume the horseradish in the brine develops and tangy taste?
Is it a bit like pickles served with sandwiches in deli? Being from Montreal, pickles served in Deli with our famous Montreal Smoked Meat is a must.. but never got to find a recipe close to those pickles.
Thanks for the information.
Hi Marie, the brine as a whole infuses flavor into the pickles. I haven’t tried those but they sound great!
Hi Natasha. There seems to be a discrepancy in the amount of water used to dissolve the salt in the ingredients list and method. What is the correct proportion of salt to water? Thanks.
Hi Vera, this recipe calls for 3 tbsp of salt in 6 cups (1.5 quarts) of filtered water and fill the jar. Which discrepecy are you referring to? I’m more than happy to troubleshoot.
Sorry my error. I thought it was 3 litres of water that you were referring to. I see now that you listed 3 1 litre or 1quart mason jars.
I’m happy that helped!
Is it ok to use a plastic jar? Thanks in advance!
Hi Alexandra, yes, my Mom makes them in a large plastic jar frequently 🙂
I love these pickles but had a quick question – what do you use as a substitute for dill stems when not in season?
Hi Terri, you could just use sprigs of dill sold in the supermarket. It really should be dill or the flavor and aroma wouldn’t be quite right.
could you tell me how much sodium is in these pickles i am a heart and diabetes patient Thank you very much
Hi Sharon. Thank you for writing in. That is a very good question and I understand where you’re coming from since I am a nurse and worked with patients with those same dietary concerns. However, I don’t think there’s anyway to really measure how much sodium is in these pickles because I don’t know how much of the sodium they absorbed from the brine. I wish I could be more helpful.
Can you reduce the salt and still have a “safe” canning process for this pickle? I also have health issues where I need to limit my sodium intake.
Hi Betty, I wouldn’t be able to recommend anything based on current safety standards. If anyone else has any creative ideas, please let us know.
thanks for ur lovely and informative blogs..i need to know that is it possible to add some other vegetables with the cucumbers..thanks once again ..Azar libya, benghazi
To be honest, we’ve never tried anything else besides pickles and zucchini. Here is the recipe for those: https://natashaskitchen.com/2014/07/09/quick-pickled-zucchini-recipe/
Hi! Where did you get your jar from?? Was it from amazon?
I actually found it at TJ Max
The container store now carries a wide assortment of sizes of the Kilner brand.
Natasha, I made these a couple times last year and absolutely loved them. But I am not sure why they are not turning out this year, I made it twice and they tasted like fresh even after a few days in the fridge. Would using sea salt make such a difference? Thank you
Is that the only thing you’ve done differently? We don’t have cucumbers yet this year, but when I made them last year, I used Morton Iodized Salt. It might be the iodine? Although I’m not exactly sure how it affects things chemically. More likely, sea salt isn’t quite as strong as table salt (the crystals are a little larger and they don’t always equate to the same amount as table salt depending on how much you are using. Here’s a handy conversion table: http://www.mortonsalt.com/for-your-home/culinary-salts/salt-conversion-chart. You might just need a little more of the sea salt.
Can i cut them up instead of whole? I got really long cucumbers growing in my garden, i wont be able to fit them in a jar whole, they would need to be cut up.
Hmmm it depends on the type of cucumber. Some long cucumbers aren’t good for canning because they just get soft. I think it’s best to use a whole cucumber, but if you have alot it’s worth a shot. I’m sure it would still taste great!
Just wondering…I have noticed that your canning is not done with boiling your fill jars in water (water bath) yet you are able to use your food for up to a year. I love the way you do this and am just today enjoying plum jam (thank you) but have had a few people question the safety of my jam because the fill jars were not submerged in water for a set amount of time (all the jars sealed and are beautiful…so excited). Your canning is much easier then the way i was taught and I look forward to using more of your recipes but am curious as to this method of canning and would like to answer peoples questions about the safety of my beautiful jars of jam. Or maybe I just cannot share with them…so sad for them. Thank you for your thoughts.
My parents and all of my relatives for generations have always done it by steam sterilization and haven’t had any issues. If you are concerned, you can boil the cans and lids (it couldn’t hurt! ;)) These refrigerator pickles are perishable however and only stay good if refrigerated.
Yes i had noticed that the pickles are refrigerated sorry i have been reading many of your recipes and just happened to be on the pickles when i decided to finally write something. I was taught to sterilize the same way but once the jars are filled and lids on we were told to immerse (aka water bath)the full jar in boiling water for a specific amount of time. I have since had a moment to do a bit more research and found information on both processes. I am enjoying your site and thank you for the time you take to share…i never liked canning (eating was great…actually doing was not) until i found you and i just had to run out and find more peaches and jars as my daughter has decided she would like to try!
Its definitely nice to have the canned stuff in winter when it’s just not very good fresh since it’s not in season. The work always pays off 🙂
Thank you Natasha for this wonderful recipe. I have been looking for this recipe for over a year. Thank you so much! i love what you do for us ladies!
Awesome!! I’m happy to help 🙂
Just discovered your website while looking for kvass recipes. Very helpful and informative! I have been making kvasheni ohirky for many years, very similar to your recipe, and I add a slice of rye bread to the top of the jar. (I think it helps with the fermentation). I love to drink the juice from the pickles and from sauerkraut, don’t know how good it is for you, but, I enjoy it. Keep up the great work!
I’ve never tried the slice of rye over the top. Sounds interesting. We will have to experiment with that! Thank you Olya 🙂
I would love to make those,and pickled watermelon,but I can’t find dill stems ANYWHERE!!! 🙁 Tried Publix and Winn Dixie here,and nothing…
Where are you from? I’m not familiar with those stores? Have you tried FredMeyer or Winco?
I’m not a big fan of Mалосольные Oгурцы, do you have a recipe fro regular Russian dill pickles
I don’t and I’m not sure if my Mom is pickling pickles this year since our cucumbers aren’t as plentiful. I’ll check with her and will post the tutorial if she is going to be pickling.
Natasha, I just want to say I am so thankful for your blog! My husband is Ukrainian and he loves it when I cook ‘Russian’ food, but he wants me to cook the way/stuff his mom cooks, so it’s been a struggle finding recipes that are like his Mom’s. Then I came across your blog and its been SUCH a blessing!! My sisters-in-law have also been here and they’re like ‘she cooks our kind of food!’ 🙂 Anyways, I just wanted to say thank you! I’m very excited to make these cucumbers!! These are one of the recipes I’ve been dying to learn! Someone had mentioned using an oak leaf to make the pickles crunchy, and I just wanted to say too that grape leaves can be used instead as a ‘crisping agent’. They work very well and might be a little more easier to obtain. Thank you again!
That’s great to know! I wish we had more cucumbers this year though. My mom’s cucumbers are few and far between this year. I’m so glad you find the site too. Welcome and I hope you find some new favorite recipes! 😉
Natasha, I ve just found your site and its amazing! I miss ukranian-russian cooking and you give me a lot of ideas. It would be great if you can post homemade kvashenaya kapusta recipie. I know its simple, but I tried to cook it two times and missed something: it turned not crisp and taste was not so good as it suppose to be. Thanks a lot in advance!
My mom usually makes this an entire bucket-full at a time! I’ll ask her to let me know when she makes it again.
Just found your fabulous blog. So many great recipes! What kind of salt do you use for pickles?
I just used Morton Iodized Salt. I just learned about pickling salt which I would use next year. Pickling salt makes canned vegetables more appetizing.
We too call these pickles “half sour”. Though, if they sand long enough, they’re no longer “half”. 🙂 Another commenter asked if it would work with tomatoes, and the answer is Yes. I have the same recipe for my pickles and my pickled tomatoes (http://annasrecipebox.com/2011/09/08/tomatoes-pickled/) I use more salt though. Technically, once these pickles stand long enough, they’re called “lacto-fermented” and are supposed to be good for you, like sauerkraut.
They pickles can last a long time in a dry, cool place (like a dark corner in a basement), mine have lasted at least 6 months, and pickled tomatoes have lasted a couple years (but I water-processed them for canning). No need to do that if they’ll be eaten within a month. 🙂
Thanks for the tip! What do you mean by “water-processed”?
By “water-processed”, I mean that after I filled the jars and closed them tightly, I boiled the jars for a few minutes (like for jam). This was the first time I was doing this and I didn’t want anyone to get sick, so I figured it wouldn’t hurt anything. It’s the last step (step 4a) in that linked recipe. I did the same thing to the pickles, but they turned out to be completely mushy, like mashed potatoes. The flavor was right, but not the consistency. The jars that were too big for the water bath canning method were perfect though. So no need to boil the pickles, they last pretty long as it is. But the boiling didn’t affect the taste or texture of the tomatoes. Not sure if it’s needed, but it didn’t hurt anything. 🙂
Wow amazing. I am so proud of myself lol. Very delicious. Thank u Natasha 🙂
You are very welcome Tonya 🙂
Just made the pickles, but I poured in the water without dissolving the salt all the way. Hope that’s ok.. didn’t have the patience. Lol thank u for posting this receipe , my first time trying this. We had too many pickles from our garden… Didnt know what to do with them, felt bad throwing them away
That should still be ok. Let me know how you love them 🙂
Okay Ill let you know, it just went in the fridge, i didnt make any wholes in the tomatoes so ill wait a bit longer to try- will sample on day 3.
Can you do this with red tomatoes?
Hmm I don’t think it would work but I haven’t tried it.
Why filtered water? Can i do this with english cucumbers? (the big long ones sold in plastic wrap- i just happen to have alot of them)
Either filtered water or boiled and cooled water. There’s less chance of it spoiling since you pour in cold water. I haven’t tried with the small English cucumbers but I think it would work as long as they haven’t been coated with any wax.
These look tasty! We call them half-sour pickles. Can I add some advise to improve the recipe a bit? I use kosher salt and add an oak leaf (rinsed first). Oak leaf will make pickles real crispy and crunchy.
Thanks for the tips! I wonder if oak leaf works the same way as horseradish.
Not quite! With an oak leaf they turn out just like in a Vlasic pickles commercial – you can break one in half and hear the crunch. 😉
Hmmm that sounds great! So I guess I need to find an oak tree! 🙂
I just discovered your blog. It is very pretty and informative. I think it is so fascinating to learn about dishes in other cultures!
Welcome to the site 🙂
I never done this by myself, its always mom makes it and gives it to me. 😉 Yeah.. Yeah… spoiled… haha
I will defiantly try your recipe; and maybe I’ll surprise mom??? !!!!
Thanks for sharing 🙂
Same story here, but I decided to do them once my self… With her supervision :), and they are very simple to make.
Hi Natasha! My in-laws served similar pickles for dinner this evening. As a bonus I was given cucumbers to take home. I just finished making the pickles according to your recipe and cannot wait to eat it soon. Thank you for sharing your recipe!
You’re welcome and I hope you love them 🙂
Thank you. Thank you. Just what I have been looking for. What type of salt do you use?
You’re so welcome 🙂 we used just regular table salt
OMG!!!! These look so good. ………..виглядають дуже смачний. I can’t keep these in the fridge, they go like hotcakes. Soon as I make some they are gone.
Thanks for sharing your recipe.
Same thing at our house! 🙂
YUM! We had a guest over at our house for lunch yesterday and he brought some of these pickles for us to try. They were so delish! I instantly wanted to make some for myself but I didn’t know him well enough to ask for a recipe. Oh Natasha, you are a wonderful mind-reader! How do you do it? If you ask me, you went into the wrong field of work. Thank you once again, you’re great!
You are very welcome Marina. It’s funny someone else asked me for this recipe just last night. I guess it was very good timing! 😀
I am making mine exactly the same way only I put a little more salt in and into hot boiled water. I had no idea regular cold water can be used! That makes my life a little easier! 🙂 Thank You, Natasha!!! Do you have the recipe for making pickled green tomatoes? That’s something I would love to learn to make!
You are welcome Sveta. I will ask my mom if she has a recipe for pickled green tomatoes.