After catching an Alton Brown episode of Good Eats about pickles, I decided to try my hand.
My first try was a small batch, 2 cukes total I think… and they were ok, I did a bit of adjustment and came up with the following…
- 3 cups cider vinegar
- 3 cups water
- 3 cups sugar
- 2 Tbsp pickling salt
- 2 tsp celery seed
- 3/4 cup pickling spice
- 1/4 cup sliced garlic
- 2 cups white onion, chopped
- 3/4 jups jalapeno peppers, chopped (about 4-6)
- 5-6 cucumbers, sliced
Eventually, I want to figure out my own mix of spices, but for now I’m cheating and using McCormick’s Pickling Spice.
You start out with a non-reactive pan, put the vinegar and water in there and heat it until it just comes to a boil and stir in the sugar so it dissolves. Then lower the heat so it will simmer and add the spices. Taking a cue from Alton here, I simmered things four minutes, then I tossed in the onion and garlic and jalapeno before pulling it off the heat. I was originally going to slice the peppers, but figured I might get better dispersal by chopping. The peppers do not add much heat to this at all, even without seeding them first, but there’s just a hint of it. I may try the next batch with more peppers.
I was able to slice the cukes (after washing them) in the time it took the cider to boil then simmer with the spices. I had a 1 gallon glass jar from hamburger slices we had bought for a big cookout. I hadn’t used it for anything else, but now was glad I saved it. I started putting the cucumber slices in, with the jar sitting in a large mixing bowl as a ‘just in case’ measure and something happened to crack the jar when I started pouring in the hot cider mix.
After getting it about half full, I started adding the cider, then sort of stirred/shook things up to get the solids to mix a bit, and did that a couple more times as I filled the jar the rest of the way, don’t pack it too full though. Once the jar was full, I capped it and put it in the fridge. Then once or twice a day over the next 10 or so days I would shake the jar up. This would get the onions, garlic and other stuff to mix in around the cucumber slices after having settled. Make sure your jar seals good (I ended up putting plastic wrap over the mouth, then the lid) so you don’t get leaking as you shake things up.
I brought some of these to Thanksgiving dinner and they were well received. I did end up distributing things among some smaller jars, mostly for ease of transport and storage. They are a good snack or sandwich pickle, but I still need to try them on a burger. I’ll be bringing one of the two jars left to Christmas dinner. I’ll probably try another batch after the first of the year. I’m also looking forward to spring when I can get some actual pickle cukes.