My Russian great-grandmother was famous throughout the small town in which she lived for her amazing pickles. She learned the recipe from her mother.

Without refrigerators, people had to innovate to make their vegetables last throughout the long, difficult winters and they pickled everything! During our year of lockdown, there was a resurgence of pickling, a “COVID canning craze” if you will, that introduced a whole new generation to the art of pickling.

My mother’s family has been making pickles for a century and there’s really nothing saltier, spicier or more rewarding than biting into your own homemade delicacies.

Here I offer a starter recipe that couldn’t be easier to make: It takes a total of about 10 minutes and then 24 hours of brining to create your first homemade pickles.

I hope you love them!

Quick Homemade Pickles

1-pint jar
Small saucepan

3 pickling cucumbers, each about 4 inches in length, sliced evenly
¼ cup Vidalia onion, sliced
3 to 5 sprigs fresh dill
½ cup apple cider vinegar
½ cup water
2 cloves garlic, mashed up
2 teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon whole black peppercorns
¼ teaspoon whole yellow mustard seeds
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes


  1. Take your 1-pint jar and fill it with the cucumber spears, slices of onion and fresh dill. Leave a half-inch of space at the top of the jar for liquid. Pack in the spears tightly.
  2. Heat the vinegar, water, garlic, salt, sugar, peppercorns, mustard seeds and red pepper flakes in your small saucepan just until the mixture comes to a simmer to make the brine. Stir quickly to ensure that the salt and sugar have completely dissolved.
  3. Allow the brine to cool a bit until it is a warm temperature. Pour your brine into the jar and over the cucumber spears.
  4. Tightly close the lid. Place the jar in your refrigerator for a minimum of 24 hours. Note: These pickles should last for about two months in your refrigerator. They will become softer and less crunchy the longer they sit.