One of the great things about refrigerator pickles is how easy it is to experiment. Try different vinegars, different amounts of salt and sugar and different mixes of spices. There’s no “right” way to do it — and since you aren’t actually preserving the vegetables, there’s no risk if you make a mistake.
Start with a basic brine of one cup of vinegar, one cup of water and one tablespoon of salt. Add sugar if you want a sweeter pickle. Fehribach insists: “Taste your brine before you put it on your vegetables,” and underestimate the amount of salt you think you need. “You can always add more, but you can’t take it out once it’s in there.”
Clean your veggies well and marinate them with the brine in a sealed container for at least a week. That’s all there is to it! After you try one simple batch, try adding spices or changing up the amount and type of vinegar.
Here are some spice recommendations from the chefs that you can play around with. Create your own signature mix by combining any of these, or others (like dill) that aren’t on the list.
Cleetus Friedman, Fountainhead:
Pickling Spice Mix (try The Spice House in Old Town)
Paul Fehribach, Big Jones:
Crushed Red Pepper
Zoe Schor, Ada Street:
Birds Eye Chilis