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? :)

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!

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our two daughters Emma (16) and Sarah (14). I am the managing editor of our community newspaper, 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.

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