3 day pickles (old fashioned crock pickles/refrigerator pickles)

We’ve had such a dry summer this year that our garden isn’t doing much of anything right now. We have cucumbers, zucchini, tomatoes, peppers, potatoes and onions at the moment, but that is about it. Our potato plants have died off and we’re not sure if the other five rows that we planted will go anywhere without some rain soon. The peas are done and the late peas might not show up. Same with the beans and our carrots never even germinated.

So, I decided to take what I could get out of it now and get to work. I managed to pick enough pickling cucumbers, jalapeno peppers and even a red pepper to start some 3 day pickles. Our dill plant was struggling anyway; now it’s been put to a peaceful end.

I’ve been sorting through recipes for 3 day brine pickles and came upon this one at Frugally Sustainable. A few modifications were made (mainly because I didn’t have any pickling spice and I wanted to put some red pepper flakes in there), but it seems to be a winner. There is definitely a little heat to these pickles. I liked her suggestion to cut a small onion in half and jam it into the tops of the jars in order to keep the pickles submerged in the brine. It worked! And like old-fashioned crock pickles, these are based on fermentation, so can be kept in cold storage (refrigerator or root cellar) without canning for 6-12 months. I doubt these will make it past the end of the summer, but it’s nice to know that they could.

The small squeaky kid said something about me being pickled. I had to ask her not to go around telling people that mommy was pickled and explain to her what that meant.

3 Day Pickles (Refrigerator Pickles)

makes 4 quarts
  • 20 pickling cucumbers (mine were a little big, so I used less)
  • jalapeno peppers/sliced red or green peppers
  • head of garlic
  • fresh dill
  • red pepper flakes, to taste
  • celery seed, to taste
  • black peppercorns
  • 2 medium yellow onions, optional


  • 8 cups water
  • 1/2 cup Bragg’s apple cider vinegar (raw, organic)
  • 1/3 cup sea salt
  1.  Mix all of the ingredients of the brine together in a pitcher and stir until salt is dissolved. Set aside.
  2. Wash your cucumbers, slice into quarters lengthwise. Wash and prepare pepper by cutting into strips. Leave the jalapenos whole.
  3. In each quart-sized glass canning jar, place enough dill heads to cover the bottom of the jar (I packed in a lot of dill), 4-6 cloves of garlic (depending on taste), a pinch of pepper flakes and celery seed, a few peppercorns and sliced cucumbers, tightly packed. Pierce the skin of the jalapenos slightly and shove into any spaces between the cucumbers. Pack strips of red or green peppers into the remaining spaces.
  4. Pour the brine over the cucumbers and spices in each of the jars. Be sure that the cucumbers are covered with the liquid. Optional: Use 1/2 an onion to weight down and keep cucumbers submerged in the brine. 
  5. Cover the jars with either a small piece of cheesecloth or lightly screw on the lids (don’t tighten the lids – the fermentation process might make them blow their tops). Put them away in a dark spot (I put mine in a storage room in the basement) for 2-3 days. Once they taste like pickles, tighten the lids on the jars and transfer to cold storage (i.e. refrigerator or root cellar). These will keep for up to 6-12 months.

Note: the brine may appear a little cloudy, but it is fine – it’s just a normal part of the fermentation process. Also, occasionally people will encounter their garlic turning blue – this is due to copper or another chemical in the water that the garlic is reacting to – it’s still completely safe to eat, it just looks weird. My water doesn’t create this problem, but if you aren’t using a well or have hard water or city water, filtered water might be best.

Linking to Frugally Sustainable, Homestead Simple, White Wolf Summit Farmgirl, Eat, Make, Grow, This Chick Cooks

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

20 thoughts on “3 day pickles (old fashioned crock pickles/refrigerator pickles)

  1. I remember July and August at my house when I was a kid–and canning took front and centre – mom canned everything and got us through the winter with wonderful pickles, tomatoes, chili sauce, peaches, plums. I still remember admiring the rows on rows of canned peacheds and tomatoes – they were so pretty. Then we took them to the cellar and they were no longer in sight. Your post brought back good memories.

    • My mom did a lot of canning too. I’m a little too lazy for all of that production, so this was my compromise. These can just be kept in the fridge.

      Though there is one thing that I would can if I could find the recipe for it.. GG’s mustard pickle. That stuff is the best thing that you can ever eat on cooked ham and ham sandwiches.

  2. oceannah says:

    we love these type pickles…I don’t like pickles that are water bath canned since they always seem to come out mushy…these stay nice and crisp!

  3. I don’t have much of a garden in our new home, but I was inspired by frugally sustainable as well, and have bunch of pickling cucumbers from the farmers market I was planning to can today! Thanks for the extra inspiration!

    • Have fun making them. They were actually pretty easy and fast to put together, especially since you don’t have to boil the brine. Mine are turning out a little spicy with the red pepper flakes added in – which should go over well with our hot-food loving friends.

  4. Love the spicy, homemade pickle! We made pickles with zucchinis here because our cucumbers have yet to produce anything. Slugs have enjoyed the cucumber plants this year!

  5. Thank you, thank you for this recipe. Our cucumbers are making it (we think) and we’ve tried some pickling recipes before that didn’t pan out how we hoped. Can’t wait to try yours!

    • You’re welcome – if you want the original recipe, click on the link I added to Frugally Sustainable. Mine have a bit of a spicy kick to them with the hot pepper flakes. I like that these stay crisp and are so much easier than the water bath canned type of pickles.

  6. bradygrl1 says:

    Mmm… I’ll have to share this with my mom, she loves canning! And loves spicy pickles 🙂

  7. Sorry about your garden with the lack of serious rain…Diane

  8. amberwideman says:

    Ah….pickling! A year or two ago I was convinced that I wanted to make pickles. My grandma has made them for years and they are always enjoyed at family dinners. With a little determination, I got to work cutting up TONS of little cucumbers. Needless to say, I got about two days in (I think I was making 7 or 10 day pickles) and absolutely hated it. It required so much dedication and work. And don’t get me started on the smell (boiling vinegar is so gross!). But with a little help from my mom, I got them done anyways. I vividly remember saying (or shouting) to my mom: “I am never ever making pickles again…at least not until I’m retired!”. They took so much time and effort but I can’t deny that they were delicious. Thanks for sharing your recipe. I think I could maybe handle three day pickles… 🙂

  9. slowborg says:

    Haha I remember my parents explaining why I can’t say things and being annoyed they ruined my fun…
    The pickles look yuuuum!

  10. I grew up enjoying my grandmother’s 15 day sweet pickles, now I can’t stand any other, but I’ve never attempted to make them myself. Our carrots never germinated either. It’s a crazy crazy summer. We’ve just heard that the extreme warm temps are supposedly going to last through some time in October. Maybe that will give us a longer growing season if the plants last that long.

    • We might try planting again after the extreme heat ends, if it rains some. It’s raining right now, but it’s the first time in a month. It’ll probably just get soaked immediately into the cracks in the ground. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it rains all day.

  11. Somer says:

    A pickle that doesn’t need to be canned is right up my alley! I like that you added a heat kick and the onion idea is great!

  12. […] 1/2 gallons of 3-day pickles (to add to the other gallon that I made earlier in the […]

  13. Peggy johnson says:

    I made these and they are very good but they did NOT stay crunchy. They taste wonderful tho so will make again!

So, what do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: