Homemade Spicy Pickles

I am a massive fan of almost any kind of pickle – dill, sweet, German, Polish, kosher, bread and butter, spicy, gherkins, cornichons, etc. and a number of other pickled vegetables too (oh man pickled red onions are sooooo good!!). I didn’t figure it could be too incredibly difficult to make a basic pickle – so I recently undertook to do my own refrigerator pickles. And since I do like spicy food, I wanted to kick up the heat a bit. So I went on a quest for a simple fridge pickle recipe. I do not have the time or patience to create fermented pickles – ya know the ones that take days and days to ferment in a giant crock, require too much babysitting, skimming, etc. I just wanted a simple and tasty recipe. Thankfully the internet is full of good recipes. And so I blended a few different recipes together to make what I was picturing as a perfect pickle for me. And here’s what I ended up doing and how they turned out:

Pickle ingredients

  • 2 English cucumbers
  • 2 habañero peppers
  • 1 jalapeño pepper
  • 5-6 fresh garlic cloves

Brine

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup vinegar (I used straight up white vinegar, but you could use apple cider vinegar as well)
  • 1 Tbsp sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp sugar

I brought the mixture to a boil to make sure the salt and sugar dissolved completely. Then I let the resulting brine cool down to room temperature. In the meantime I cut up the cucumbers into various pickle-like shapes (some thin slice and some thick, some wedges, and some “sandwich stackers”. Once all the veggies were chopped up, I put the various shapes into a quart canning jar and a pint canning jar, since I couldn’t fit everything into a single jar. Then I added a handful of critical pickling spice ingredients to the jars:

Pickling Spices

  • Whole mustard seed
  • Dill weed
  • Whole black peppercorns

Then I poured the brining liquid into each jar until the jar was full. Once I capped each jar with a tightly-sealed plastic lid, they went into the fridge and stayed there for two days. I wanted to wait three days but I could not wait any longer. So I broke open one of the jars and tried out what I had made, really hoping I hadn’t messed up. Thankfully I hadn’t. They were delicious. I actually couldn’t stop eating them they were so tasty. After eating quite a few I realized how spicy these things actually are. So probably next time I’ll dial back the heat a bit – maybe only one habañero or jalapeño. And next time I’ll also use fresh dill still on the stem rather than dried dill. I ended up having to strain out all the dry dill weed to make it easier to eat them. A small price to pay for delicious spicy pickles – but since I can easily eliminate that step, I’m going to next time.

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