Mom's refrigerator pickles are the best. We grew up eating these and I try to ration the container the entire year while we wait for the next cucumber growing season to begin. They go perfectly with grilled cheese sandwiches. The pickles are sweet, sour, crisp and they make you feel good because you made them:) I think they're comfort food for my family and I'm pleased to say that my kids like them too.
You will always find one or two cucumber vines growing around cages at my house in the warmer months. One would suffice, but I'm afraid of somehow the one and only plant dying and not getting any cucumbers for the year. One plant, if you continue to pick the cucumbers as they are ready and never let them over ripen, will give you cucs the entire summer until it literally freezes out. A four foot high, two foot diameter, sturdy cage will house one plant and keep it neatly in that space instead of crawling all over your garden. It makes it much easier to see how many you have on the vine and how big they are...so you can plan for the days to come. Okay, back to the recipe....
Burpless (the ones with tender, thinner outer skin and generally seedless that grow relatively straight and uniform in size) cucumbers are my favorite for this, but anything works. You don't want to use the ones they sell in the grocery store with the thick, green skin and yummy wax coating...blick. Use whatever size cucumber you prefer and dump all of the following in a gallon container. Or split it into smaller containers as long as the pickles are covered with the brine. You may need to make more brine to cover the pickles in smaller jars. Make the brine first so you know how many pickles it can handle.
In an ice cream bucket or larger and mix (note, no cooking involved):
1 large white onion, sliced thin - I quarter the slices, mom doesn't
3 cups sugar
3 cups vinegar
1/3 cup salt
1 tsp celery seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
Slice cucumbers and add to bucket until filled, but brine still covers the slices. Store in refrigerator until they are eaten, up to one year. I start fresh each year with the new crop. They never last that long.
I've tried cooking the brine and it really makes no difference. My mom never cooks the brine and hers are always better. Funny how that works, no matter what she does to the ingredients, it always tastes better when she makes it:) It works nicely to get your bucket of brine made with the first cucs and add slices as the plants ripen to the desired size. I've eaten them after only a day or two soaking and they're still good, so you don't have to wait months or whatever like other pickles.
HALF BATCH VERSION : Makes two 32 ounce jars
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups vinegar
1/6 cup salt
1/2 Tbs celery seed
1/2 Tbs mustard seed
8-9 cups sliced cucumbers
1 large onion, sliced, quartered