Aunt Gig was actually my Great Aunt Gig. She was my mother’s aunt. For most of my life I thought her name was Gig. Really it was Anne. And I don’t know why everyone called her Gig. Everyone did. Everyone.
Aunt Gig was Czechoslovakian by descent and was a very good cook. This is her very simple recipe for refrigerator pickles. Refrigerator pickles are exactly what they say they are. They are pickles that have a warm brine poured over them and then they are put in the refrigerator for two weeks. You can eat them anytime after you brine them, but they are most flavorful if you wait two weeks.
This recipe makes 2 quarts of brine and will yield about 2 quarts of pickles. Remember the glass measuring cup is for liquid ingredients and the plastic cups are for measuring dry ingredients.
2 quarts of water
1/2 to 3/4 cups of white vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup salt
Six cucumbers (not giant ones…small to normal. If you use small cucumbers you will need more than six)
glass jars with lids
1. Put vinegar, water, sugar, and salt in a large saucepan. Bring the liquid mixture to a boil. Stir until the salt and sugar are dissolved.
2. Let the liquid cool for about 30 minutes.
3. While the liquid is cooling, put two cleaned cloves of garlic and a bunch of dill into the bottom of the glass jars. Put as much garlic and dill into each jar to suit your taste.
4. Cut the cucumbers into spears and/or chips. Place the cut cucumbers into the glass jars overtop of the garlic and dill.
5. Pour the still warm (but cooled) brine liquid into the jars. Cover the cucumbers with the brine liquid. Put a lid on each jar. Do NOT put the lid on too tight.
6. Store in the refrigerator. Ready to eat in about two weeks.
Cucumbers are plentiful right now. In your garden and, especially at the Farmers’ Market. At the Collingswood Farmers’ Market, where I shop weekly, there is an abundance of beautiful cucumbers in many varieties. The cucumbers best suited for this recipe are Kirby Pickles or Kirby Cucumbers. I’ve purchased them from Viereck Farms, Springdale Farms, DanLynn. Savoie Organic Farm also has cucumbers. The ones I look for every year are Savoie Farms white ones. Yes, white cucumbers. I like them because they are very mild. So, when I decided it was time for some of Aunt Gig’s refrigerator pickles I chose those mild white cucumbers for a change. Any pickling cucumber, any small cucumber will work with this simple old-time recipe. But the white pickles are crispy and delicious and were my choice this year.
A jar of these pickles (white, green, or mixed) is a pleasant summer addition to any meal and would make a lovely hostess gift.
Plan a picnic or barbecue for two weeks from today…and make some pickles! (And let the kids help!)
Cucumbers – Viereck Farm, Springdale Farm, DanLynn, Flaim Farm, Formisano Farm, Savoie
Garlic – Savoie, Flaim Farm, Formisano Farm, DanLynn
Dill – Flaim Farm, Formisano Farm (Dill plants at Springdale Farms)