a peek inside the fishbowl

03 Jul, 2014

Are you a preservationist?*

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Recipes and Food

I’ve decided to invent a new phrase: PRETTY AS A PICKLE. Do you think it’ll catch on?

Making refrigerator pickles! Woot!

My parents used to preserve cherries we harvested from the trees in our backyard. The idea of canning berries and fruit and pickles and beans has always intimidated me, mostly because of the huge amount of effort involved and the fact that I  could kill someone as a result of my ineptitude or impatience with the process. (HELLO FOOD POISONING and BOTULISM.)

I spotted this jar at terra20 recently and something clicked in my brain. I remembered a recipe I saw for fresh refrigerator pickles; pickles without the pickling and the possibility of death! Suddenly, I had to have pickles.

I followed this recipe for quick pickles and I was surprised at how good they were. Next time I might use a smidge more sugar and half the garlic, and maybe some chili peppers too. This is the magical part of this recipe, you can totally customize it according to your own tastes.

These pickles were very easy to make. I sliced up four small field cukes, threw them in my pretty new jar along with some dill fronds, poured the pickling juice over it all, gave it a shake, and tossed it in the fridge. The pickles have since settled and the flavours have intensified, making for some very happy snacking indeed.

Refridgerator pickles recipe

I wouldn’t keep this in the fridge more than 4-5 days, but I don’t think it’ll even last that long.

* What do you call someone who preserves things anyway? :)

Print this post Print this post

7 Responses to "Are you a preservationist?*"

1 | Annie @ PhD in Parenting

July 3rd, 2014 at 7:55 am


I preserve a lot of things, but I do it by freezing. I’m also intimidated by the idea of canning. Freezing doesn’t work very well for pickles though. :)

2 | Kate S

July 3rd, 2014 at 8:42 am


Canning is awesome (although fridge pickles are pretty great,too). Don’t be afraid :)

3 | Cath in Ottawa

July 3rd, 2014 at 8:49 am


I love canning – jam, salsa, peaches, etc. I’ve never had a problem (knock wood) but am also super cautious – if I’m not 100% sure something is sealed properly, I put it in the fridge for us to eat right away. Win win!!

4 | Misty Pratt

July 3rd, 2014 at 11:05 am


The thing with canning is that you have to get a good recipe and then stick to it 100%. You can’t mess around with the sugar/water/vinegar etc. content, and you also have to boil everything exactly how long it says (so ya, impatience doesn’t work). My MIL has been canning forever with really sketchy canning practices, and so far she hasn’t killed anyone :) (oh, and I call people who preserve “homesteaders” or “back-to-the-landers!”)

5 | maryatparenthood

July 5th, 2014 at 8:07 pm


Do you eat cold cuts? I bet the chance of getting listeriosis is higher than the chance of botulism from home preservation. Heck, cantaloupes are likely more dangerous. My grandmother always used techniques that the “officials” consider highly unsafe and never had any problems. She never heard of anyone having problems either, when I timidly wondered about the warnings. I’ve been home preserving now for over a decade – also no problems, though I am less laissez-faire than Grandma. I actually don’t eat things canned in metal if I can help it anymore as I am much more concerned about the stuff in commercial cans than in the low chance of food poisoning.

6 | andrea tomkins

July 7th, 2014 at 5:04 pm


Mary: we do eat cold cuts, and more than I would like! I see your point about food safety. Maybe I’ll reconsider this canning thing… Hmm.

7 | Anna Roberts

July 8th, 2014 at 11:37 am


This is so great! Pickles are actually one of my favorite foods, but I always feel so guilty eating them! I try to eat organic and all natural as much as possible, but sometimes my cravings for pickles win. Then I look at the ingredients listed on the back and there are names of chemicals used for preservation that I’ve never heard of. Thank you so much for writing about this recipe!

comment form:


NAC Ottawa family events

Saunders Farm annual passes for family fun!

Animal Inside Out BodyWorlds, Canadian Museum of Nature, Ottawa

Mrs Tiggywinkle's - the best toy store in Ottawa

Joan of Arc Academy in Ottawa

OMS Ottawa Montessori schools

Sara McConnell photography Ottawa

Rethink Tires - Community Renewal Fund

Click me!


Stay in touch

Me and my pet projects


Veggie challenge button

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • Margaret Whitley: As a long time Montessori Educator, student, parent, and supporter, I am pleased to see your profile of OMS. They are a fine example of what Montesso
  • Michael Milsom: Way to push yourself out of the box to explore another dimension..taking us all along for the ride :-) 21 days ..is a LOT of days to commit to doing
  • My 21-day vegetarian challenge is done! >> a peek inside the fishbowl: […] and sweet potato tacos (sort of based on this recipe), beer, tortilla chips and salsa* - snacks: DIY mango soft serve, coffee with milk, a
  • 21-day vegetarian challenge – it’s done! >> a peek inside the fishbowl: […] alfredo with kale and green onion - vegan black bean and sweet potato tacos (sort of based on this recipe), beer, tortilla chips and salsa*
  • Dee: If you do this again, you can get veggie sausages for your breakfast. Give me a heads up and I'll get them for you - my pusher lives in MTL :)
  • Molly: Thanks for sharing the recipe! A is a big fan of Naked Fish and was equally disappointed to find out it was closed for renos the other day - I think
  • andrea tomkins: Me too! I've been a fan for just about forever. :)

The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our two daughters Emma (15) and Sarah (13). I am the editor of the Kitchissippi Times and a regular contributor to MediaSmarts.ca. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger, and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999... which makes me either a total dinosaur or a veteran, I'm not sure which! The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

If you'd like to contact me, please use this form. If you're so inclined, you can read more about me here. Thank you for visiting!


My right hand is actually a camera

Connect with me at these places too!

The #dailylunches project – 1000 lunches and counting

Every day I eat lunch and take a picture. Here's the latest:

Created with flickr badge.

Click the photo for details: what it is, where I ate it (if it's worth a mention!) and how to cook it (if there happens to be a recipe). You can also read more about this project right here.


  • Two articles of mine were published in the summer issue of Ottawa Magazine. One is a Q&A with a dermatologist about summertime skin care (YES, those are my superwhite legs in the photo) and the other is a blogger face-off about bikinis.

    - #
  • So I was feeling a bit ranty and wrote this post about raising children in an age of zero privacy in the hopes it will start some conversations! Please leave your two cents right here.

    - #
  • My latest post on the MediaSmarts website is up, and it's about family social media accounts. (Yes! It's a thing! And I think it's pretty neat.) Is this something you do as a family? I'd love it if you left your two cents on the topic.

    - #

On the nightstand

... check out past nightstand reads right here.

All hail the mighty Twitter