Mediterranean Refrigerator Pickles Recipe11. July 2023
If you’re looking for a new zesty pickle recipe, give this one a try. These Mediterranean Pickled Vegetables are a great side to chicken dishes or veggie hummus platters. Since these pickles are refrigerated and not shelf stable, you can get a little creative and safely change up the ingredient mix. The recipe makes a quart jar, so it’s also a great way to utilize handfuls of random vegetables.
While it’s super important to follow canning recipes for safety reasons, there is more freedom when making refrigerator pickles. That’s because the end product is not meant to be shelf stable — it’s meant for the fridge! You can create your own mix by using a Master Brine recipe. Ball Canning has guidelines for making easy refrigerator pickles in The All New Ball Book of Canning and Preserving. They offer up several different pickle recipes where you can choose your own veggies and seasonings. Their recipes use a master brine solution of vinegar, water, sugar, and pickling salt. Then you add the seasonings and vegetables of your choice for their recipe combination suggestions. My favorite refrigerator pickles are based on Ball’s Mexican Fridge Pickles recipe. It’s a great recipe to make at the end of the growing season so you can use up green tomatoes.
I will present my variation of Ball’s Mediterranean Refrigerator Pickle recipe below, but I will also note some of their original suggestions in parenthesis. Basically, I hate peppers and things that are too spicy, so I limit or omit those from my recipe. And I substitute some of the other vegetables as well.
Mediterranean Refrigerator Pickles
Recipe adapted from “The All New Ball Book of Canning and Preserving” ©2023 CanningCrafts
Preservation method: Refrigerator (not shelf-stable!!!)
Difficulty level: Easy
Yield: Makes 1 quart jar OR 2 pint jars (recipe is adjustable for more jars, just make more brine!)
Master Brine Solution*:
- 2 cups of white wine vinegar (5% acidity) (Ball suggests you can use White Wine, Red Wine, or Balsamic Vinegar)
- 1 cup of water
- 2 tablespoons of sugar
- 1 tablespoon of pickling salt
*You may have leftover brine. Store in fridge and use for more pickles later.
This recipe calls for ripe cherry tomatoes. I LOVE Sungold cherry tomatoes for this recipe, but other varieties would work too.
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 tablespoons chopped basil and/or oregano
- 2 teaspoons citrus zest
- 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes
(Ball suggests adding bay leaves, which I omit. I also use just a dash of the red pepper flakes since I don’t like things too spicy).
This recipe is flexible and can be adjusted for what you have left in your garden or what you prefer to eat. Mix and match as you wish, or make your own substitutions. Wash and peel your vegetables. Depending on the sizes of your veggies, you can leave them whole, halve, quarter, slice, or chop. Cherry tomatoes are best left whole, but you can expect for some of them to pop open after pickling.
Use approximately 2 pounds of vegetables total. Here is the veggie mix I use for my recipe:
- Zucchini, sliced 1/4” thick or cut into larger cubes
- Cherry Tomatoes, leave whole
- Button Mushrooms (leave whole or cut larger ones in half)
- Bell Peppers, sliced into strips (I use red, orange, or yellow peppers)
- Green Beans
(Ball suggests you can also add asparagus, radishes, chili peppers, or yucky cauliflower & eggplant. YUCK!)
NOTE: Many refrigerator pickles will last a long time in the fridge. But in my experience with THIS pickle mix, zucchini doesn’t hold up a long time. And while eggplant is super gross, and I refuse to ever ever ever eat it, I imagine it would get a little mushy over time as well. Zucchini and ripe cherry tomatoes will both go soft soon. The pickles will intensify in flavor the longer they sit. Plan to eat these pickles within a few months or adjust the veggie mix to avoid the mush! I have made my basic Mexican Fridge Pickle recipe and it is still good even after a year.
Prepare Your Jars
Prepare your master brine solution by combining the vinegar, water, sugar, and salt to a boil in a small stainless steel pot or enameled pan. Reduce heat and simmer 3 minutes, stirring until the sugar and salt are dissolved.
Tightly pack your chosen vegetables, crushed garlic cloves, chopped herbs, citrus zest, and red pepper flakes into a hot quart jar (or 2 pint jars). I like to randomly mix the veggies in the jar and sprinkle the chopped herbs throughout.
Pour hot Master Brine over vegetables to cover them. Use a bubbling tool or chopstick to remove air bubbles. Add more brine to cover if needed. Cover with a lid (since this is a non-shelf stable fridge recipe, I like to repurpose old, previously used lids. Do NOT use previously used lids for shelf stable canned goods).
Let jar stand an hour or until cooled at room temperature. Store cooled jar in refrigerator*. For best flavor, allow the jar to pickle in the fridge at least a week before eating. Pickles will become more flavorful over time.
*IMPORTANT: This is NOT a shelf stable product. The jar MAY seal itself, but it must be stored in a refrigerator.
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