Low-Salt Refrigerator Pickles


In 1986, I was living with my husband and youngest daughter in Blue Jay, Ohio, on the Indiana border.  My husband had a huge garden and lots of cucumbers.  This was one of a long list of recipes for pickles that I used.  I was still working full time and commuting an hour each way, so this one was good because it used a lot of cucumbers and made up quickly.  I could get a batch made up after supper and they could be used within 4-5 days.   This recipe is from my bible at the time – Pickles & Relishes – 150 Recipes – Apples to Zucchini.



  • 3 qts thinly sliced cucumbers
  • 3 medium size onions, sliced thinly
  • 4 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 cups cider vinegar
  • ½ tsp pickling salt (optional)
  • 1-1/3 tsp turmeric
  • 1-1/3 tsp celery seeds
  • 1-1/3 tsp mustard seeds



Layer cucumbers and onions in a jar, packing tightly.  Combine remaining ingredients and stir to dissolve the sugar.  Pour the syrup over the cucumbers and cover tightly.  Refrigerate for 4-5 days before using.

Keep these pickles refrigerated.  You can add to the mixture whenever you have more cucumbers.

Yield:  3 quarts


Zucchini Mock Mini-Apple-Ring Pickles

I originally got this recipe in 1983 from my sister-in-law in Somerset, Kentucky.  The recipe called for pickling lime and a total of 27 hours of soaking.  Because of the time-consuming process, I only made them once but thought they were very tasty.

I noticed that Ball makes a Pickle Crisper that is much easier to use and does not require all the soaking time.  I thought I would revise the recipe to make a smaller batch and to use the new Ball product.  This is a much easier process and the pickle is still as tasty as I remembered it from 1983.


  • 1 lb. zucchini (1-½ inch diameter)
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup white vinegar, 5% acidity
  • 1 Tblsp. plus 1 tsp. pickling salt
  • 2 Tblsp. cinnamon candy red-hots
  • Ball Pickle Crisper (Calcium Chloride) – 1 tsp. for pint, 1/2 tsp for ½-pint, 1/8 tsp for 4 oz. jar

Peel and cut zucchini into ½ inch rings.  Using a paring knife, cut an “X” in the center of each ring and use the tip of the knife to cut out a small circle.

In a large saucepan, place granulated sugar, white vinegar and pickling salt.  Bring to a boil, then stir in the red hot candy pieces, continuing to stir until candy is dissolved.   Add the zucchini slices and bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and simmer for 2 minutes.

Sterilize an 8 oz. and a 4 oz. Mason or Ball jars and lids.  In the 8 oz. jar, place 1/4 tsp. of  Pickle Crisper and in the 4 oz jar, 1/8 tsp of Pickle Crisper.

Ladle in the zucchini and brine to fill jars to within ¼ inch of top edge.  Wipe edges clear and put on lids.

Process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.

Cool on a wire rack.

Let pickles cure for at least two weeks before serving.

Yield:  One 8 oz. and one 4 oz. jar

The small jars would make nice hostess gifts and definitely are something a little bit different.  It’s easy to double or triple the recipe if desired.  Just be sure to put the correct amount of Pickle Crisper in the jar, based on the size of the jar.

2 lbs. zucchini (1-½ inch diameter)
4 cups granulated sugar
2 cups white vinegar, 5% acidity
2 Tblsp. plus 2 tsp. pickling salt
¼ cup cinnamon candy red-hots

Ball Pickle Crisper (Calcium Chloride) – 1 tsp. for pint, 1/2 tsp for ½-pint, 1/8 tsp for 4 oz. jar

3 lbs. zucchini (1-½ inch diameter)
6 cups granulated sugar
3 cups white vinegar, 5% acidity
¼ cup pickling salt
¼ cup plus 2 Tblsp. cinnamon candy red-hots

Ball Pickle Crisper (Calcium Chloride) – 1 tsp. for pint, 1/2 tsp for ½-pint, 1/8 tsp for 4 oz. jar

This is a good website with information on canning:


My Favorite Corn Relish

We’ve had a sensational corn season here in southwest Ohio.  Every week, I drive to my favorite farm market, Blooms and Berries in Loveland, Ohio, and pick up some great bi-color sweet corn.  Many times this summer, my daughter and I have had a supper of corn-on-the-cob, a big tossed salad and some kind of cobbler or Brown Betty made with fresh fruit – now, that says summertime!

Whenever I had an ear of cooked corn left over, I cut it from the cob and put it in a bag in the freezer.  Finally, today I had enough to make my favorite corn relish.  When I was a child in the 1930s-40s, the items I loved the most on the dinner tables of my grandmothers and my great-aunt were the pickles and relishes, and corn relish was my favorite.  This recipe from a book called FANCY PANTRY comes the closest to what I remember from those long-ago days.


  • Servings: Makes 3 cups of relish
  • Print

  • 3-1/2 cups fresh corn kernels*
  • 1 cup diced onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, tightly packed
  • 1 Tblsp. pickling salt
  • 1 Tblsp. dry mustard
  • 1 tsp. mustard seed
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 3/4 tsp. celery seed
  • 1/8 tsp. ground hot red pepper
  • 1-1/4 cups cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water

*You can substitute thawed frozen corn (drained) or well drained canned corn if fresh isn’t available.

In a large pot or Dutch oven, combine the corn, onions, red and green pepper and celery.

Add the brown sugar, pickling salt, mustard, mustard seed, turmeric, celery seed, hot red pepper, vinegar and water.  Stir everything together and place pot on medium-high heat.

Bring mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally.  Lower heat and simmer mixture partly covered until it has thickened slightly – about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Ladle relish into hot sterilized jars, seal, and process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes, counting the time after the water has started to boil again after inserting the jars. I like to use an asparagus steamer for processing just a jar or two.

This batch makes about 3 cups of relish.  I filled a one-pint jar and processed it.  A half-pint jar was filled and not processed, but will be refrigerated.  In either case, allow the relish to cure for two weeks before using.  The refrigerated version should be used within two weeks after the curing time.

The pint jar will be stored away for Thanksgiving when I like to have on the table a sampling of pickles and relishes that I’ve made that year.   Here are some other pickles and relishes I’ve made this summer that I plan to have on my Thanksgiving table this year:

This is a good website with information on canning.