By Vanessa Greaves

The easiest pickles ever.

Quick pickles, aka refrigerator pickles, land on the easy end of the scale when it comes to preserving and canning food. Unlike a traditional canning process, quick pickling doesn't use boiling water baths or fancy equipment — just a spicy vinegar brine, fresh produce, and a sterilized glass jar or two — and the jars are stored in the refrigerator instead of on the pantry shelf. Here are a few ideas for quick pickles made with summer's best produce to tickle your taste buds with their sweet/tart/tangy flavors.

Quick Tips for Quick Pickles

Because they're not water-bath processed and heat-sealed, quick refrigerator pickles need to be stored in the fridge and eaten within a week or two. Most recipes make a relatively small batch for this very reason. But watch out, quick pickling could turn out to be your gateway to full on canning. Here are a few easy tips to keep in mind when you're pickling produce.

  • Make sure your work space is clean and sanitized
  • Sterilize jars by running them through the dishwasher or submerging them in boiling water.
  • Choose fresh, unbruised produce.
  • Wash produce before pickling.

12 Easy Quick Pickle Recipes to Try

1. Homemade Refrigerator Pickles

This simple recipe is an excellent intro to quick pickling. Watch the video to see how easily the whole thing comes together.

2. Pickled Grapes

If you think pickling is just for cucumbers, you need to taste the magic of pickled fruit. The process takes mere minutes, and the grapes are ready to eat after one day of soaking.

Photo by CJ

3. Refrigerator Rainbow Carrot Pickles

Buckwheat Queen says, "This is a game changer when it comes to the game 'how to keep salads interesting.' They give it flavor, crunch, and if you add a little brine and oil, no need for fattening dressings." Tip: You can slice the carrots into rounds or into matchsticks.

Photo by Buckwheat Queen

4. Pickled Garlic and Jalapeno Peppers

Make summer's heat last a little longer with a jar or two of pickled peppers. Recipe creator Kate Przbylo says, "You could also substitute serrano peppers for the jalapenos, cauliflower for the carrots, or add small onions. Pickles will keep approximately 6 weeks in the fridge."

Photo by Buckwheat Queen

5. Quick Pickled Radishes

These lovely quick pickles take only a few minutes to make, but you should let them sit in the fridge overnight to get the best flavor. Recipe creator France C says the color will deepen the longer they sit.

Photo by France C

6. Addictive Spicy Dill Avocado Pickles

"Underripe avocados are lightly pickled in brine that is tangy and slightly sweet," says recipe creator Buckwheat Queen. "These are great to serve with your favorite burger, hot dog, or Tex-Mex dish. They make a snazzy addition to salads too!" They'll last about 5 days in the fridge.

Photo by Buckwheat Queen

7. Summertime Sweet Pickles

When your garden (or the farmers' market) is overflowing with cucumbers, fill a few jars with these sweet quick pickles. You'll want to let them refrigerate for 24 hours before dishing them up.

Photo by kpullen89

8. Sugar Snap! Pickled Peas

Recipe creator Matt Wencl recommends letting these snappy pickled peas sit in the fridge for at least 1 day and up to 2 weeks before serving.

9. Vietnamese Pickled Daikon Radish and Carrots

"This crispy Asian-style refrigerated pickle combination (do chua) is best known as an addition to banh mi sandwiches," says recipe creator bd.weld. "You can also add cucumber and onions, if you like. This also works well with BBQ pork or as a rice side. They will keep for 4 weeks in the refrigerator."

Photo by bd.weld

At this point, I checked with a pickle-making expert to confirm that you can turn traditional pickled produce recipes into quick pickles simply by eliminating the hot water bath step. In fact that's what she often does. You might want to cut big-batch recipes in half, though, unless you want to fill your fridge (or your friends' fridges) with jars of quick pickled summer peaches, watermelon rinds, and so much more.

Try the following recipes, but leave out the hot water bath processing step. Just fill the jars and stash them in the fridge:

10. Pickled Peaches

Serve these sweet and spicy peaches over ice cream, pound cake, or cheesecake. They're also sensational with grilled chicken or pork.

Photo by Meredith

11. Pickled Watermelon Rinds

You know that watermelon rind you usually throw out? Yes, you can pickle that. (I have, and it's incredible!) Watermelon with a thick rind works best for this recipe because you cut off the outer green skin and all the red fruit before pickling the white rinds.

Photo by Meredith

12. Catherine's Pickled Blueberries

Personal shout-out for this eye-opening pickle. I'd never tried pickled fruit until my pickle-expert friend introduced me to these, and now they're a must-make when blueberry season hits. Take it from me, they're dangerously addictive as an appetizer with goat cheese and a sliced baguette, and they're amazing with grilled or roasted meats. Feel free to use this recipe for other summer fruit such as cherries, blackberries, and plums.

Featured Image: 250234-homemade-refrigerator-pickles-photo-by-cookinbug (23009)