Canning season is well underway, and chances are you know someone puts up beans, tomatoes, and corn. The process not only requires some degree of precision and specialized accessories, but is fraught with a procedural mojo that seems to inspire an annoying smidge of smugness in its devotees. These domestic deities take excessive pride in their product—some of them with justification, of course—and in recent years, it seems, home canned goods display an astonishing degree of artisanship you’ll find displayed at summer fairs where the best home canning the area has to offer is enshrined and awarded. Competition is psychotic.
Fortunately for us mere mortals, we have a quick, delicious alternative to the sort of home canning that requires a humongous pot, oversize tongs, and vexatious thermometers. All you need for refrigerator pickles are jars, ingredients, and, well, a refrigerator. Cucumbers, onions, and young squash can be used, but they must be quite fresh, young and firm. Supermarket vegetables are unsuitable. Pack 6 cups sliced cucumbers and 1 cup sliced onion in two clan quart jars. Heat 1 cup vinegar, 1 cups sugar, and 1 tablespoon salt until sugar is dissolved. Pour over cucumber mixture, cool, cover tightly and refrigerate for a day or so hours before serving. These will keep for several weeks, but are usually eaten well before.