My cucumber plants have finished producing for the season, but I have no complaints. I had a bonanza this year. The Japanese Climbing Cucumbers not only grew up the trellis where I planted them, but also vined around the amaranth plants next to them and spread out of the garden over the border fence and onto the grass. The New Zealand Spinach got smothered out in the process, but frankly I enjoyed the cukes more.
Despite giving away the cucumbers to friends and neighbors I still had more than I could possibly eat before they rotted. I gave Rod Clark, editor of Rosebud Magazine and family friend, a call for the official Rosebud Refrigerator Pickle Recipe.
Ingredients (per quart Mason Jar)
Two Tablespoons Non-Iodized Salt
Two Wild Grape Leaves (I used leaves from my domestic Muscadine grapes)
6 Whole Black Peppercorns
3 Cloves Garlic, peeled
2 Hot Peppers (such as Thai Hot Peppers)
Dip the jars and lids into boiling water to sterilize them. Wash the cucumbers, grape leaves, and peppers.
Add the Grape Leaves, Pepper Corns, Hot Peppers, Salt, Dill, and Garlic to each jar.
Quarter the cucumbers lengthwise and cut to the appropriate length to fit the jar. Add as many spears as will fit in each jar snugly but not smashed.
Pour straight vinegar into the jar. Put on lid and put in fridge. Wait two weeks.
Rod says that after two weeks you can taste the pickles and decide if you need to add anything else. I personally found them to be just tasty and ready to eat at that point. Rod also notes that he doesn’t cut the vinegar with water as cucumbers are mostly water themselves and as the vinegar enters the cucumber, the water from the cucumber enters the brine.
The refrigerator pickles should keep up to about two months (refrigerated, of course). I find that mine don’t last that long because they end up in midnight peanut butter and pickle sandwiches.