Easy Refrigerator Pickled Vegetables
Yield: 2 quarts (recipe can easily be cut in half)
Pickling is a great way to preserve and enjoy a surplus of summer vegetables, but it's an equally easy way to enjoy your veggies all year long!


The Vegetables

  • 2 pounds (more or less) combination of cauliflower florets, green beans, carrots, pickling cucumbers, red bell pepper, and/or sweet onions*
  • Optional for spicy veggies: 1-2 jalapeño, Serrano, or red chili peppers (or 1/4-1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper per jar, or more to taste)

The Herbs/Spices

  • 6-8 sprigs fresh dill (may substitute 1 teaspoon dried dill)**
  • 1 teaspoon celery seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns

The Brine

  • 4 cups water
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
  • 2 cups distilled white vinegar (5% acidity)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar***
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt


  1. To prep the vegetables: I like to cut the cauliflower into small, bite-size florets and either slice the carrots into thick rounds or lengthwise into sticks. Green beans can be trimmed and left whole. Remove the blossom end (and discard it—this contains an enzyme that makes pickles less crisp) from cucumbers and thickly slice. Onions should be peeled and sliced into rings or half moons. Seed the bell peppers and then chop or slice into strips.

    In each of 2 clean, quart-size canning jars, place a few sprigs of fresh dill if using, and then pack the jars with your desired mix of raw veggies. Add the optional hot pepper to each jar. (I leave the pepper whole but make a slit down the side to allow the brine to penetrate; level of heat will depend of the variety and quantity of pepper used.) Divide the seeds and peppercorns between the jars (1/2 teaspoon each).  (It’s ok if they rest on top for now; they will be distributed when the brine is added.)

    For the brine: In a medium saucepan bring the water to a boil, reduce the heat so the water simmers, and add the garlic. (Simmering the garlic cooks out sulfur compounds and bypasses the raw flavor that some people don’t enjoy. Keeping the cloves whole prevents the flavor from being too dominant.) Simmer the garlic for 5 minutes. Add the vinegar, sugar, and salt, and then raise the heat to return to a boil. Cook and stir just until the sugar and salt dissolve. Remove from the heat.

    Remove the garlic from the brine and place 4 cloves in each jar. (You may have to lift some of the veggies to tuck them in.) Fill each jar with the hot brine. (For easy transfer, I use a cup-size glass measure with a spout. A ladle also works well, and you can use a funnel if you have one.)

    Let the vegetables cool and then cover and refrigerate. The pickles will taste good after one day, and the flavor will continue to improve over several days. They’ll keep for 2-3 months but are unlikely to last that long.


*Depending on which vegetables you choose and how they are cut and packed, you may have some leftover, but this is a good approximate starting point. Additional veggies can be added to the brine as the pickled ones are eaten. Just keep in mind the new additions will take a few days to soak in the flavor.

**I have made these pickles with fresh dill and dried and enjoy them both ways. If you enjoy a predominant dill flavor, I recommend seeking out fresh dill. For those who find the flavor of dill to be overpowering, dried dill blends with the other spices and is quite subtle.

***The last time I made this recipe, I cut the amount of sugar by half and the end result was still quite good. Feel free to try with 2 tablespoons total sugar if you are looking to keep added sugar as low as possible—or skip it entirely for a tangier end result.

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