I had big dreams for my garden this year. I’m not sure why I thought this year would be different than any other year. I kill any plant that is left in my care except one little durable pathos ivy that I was given as a gift when I had my first son. That little thing is one forgiving plant but everything else is dead within 3 weeks. Back to my garden- My garden is a very sad excuse for a garden. But I had high hopes for it. So I planted several pickling cucumber plants with the hope that I would be able to make my own pickles this year. Cue to the end of the summer- my garden produced one zucchini, two tomatoes and like 5 misshapen and (for some reason) yellow(?)
My parent’s garden on the other hand is ridiculous on the opposite end of the spectrum. The perfect combination of my mom’s incredibly green thumb and my dad’s composting skills. Each tiny seed turns into a plant that is just days away from demanding Seymour feed him. I’m not kidding, the plants there FLOURISH! At the beginning of the summer I gave my mom one small seedling of a cucumber (or what we thought was a cucumber) that started growing little bizarre round cucumbers. The one small seedling turned into a 20 foot long vine within days it seemed like. Near the end of the summer when most of the cucumbers had been picked (and a good portion pickled), someone looked a little closer at the rind. It didn’t look very much like a cucumber. In fact, it looked like a canteloupe. When we cut into it the flesh was green and firm but it tasted like a cucumber-ish. If you assumed it was a cucumber, then you were fine with the flavor being cucumber. BUT if someone suggested to you that it was just unripe cantaloupe- then it was pretty clear we were eating unripe cantaloupe. Other than a too-thick rind, they weren’t bad! Maybe I’ll turn cantaloupe pickles into a thing if they aren’t already.
Since my pathetic cucumbers were no good and my mom’s cucumbers turned out to be cantaloupes, we decided to buy some pickling cucumbers at the farmer’s market. We also got some jalapeno peppers, serrano peppers, and habanero peppers that I totally forgot about and left out of the pickles anyway.
I’m not a pickle fan, but my husband is. Especially spicy pickles. There is a great local company that makes spicy pickles that my husband will eat the entire jar in one sitting, but at about $7 a jar that is kind of a pricey snack. I thought I would try to make my own spicy pickles. After I made them, we let them sit in the refrigerator for several days and then my husband tried them. “They’re rather salty” was the only feedback I got, so I figured it was a failed experiment. My brother-in-law who will essentially eat anything tried them and he thought they were good so I gave him a bottle. THAT bottle got forgotten about in the back of their fridge for about a month.
When the brother-in-law discovered the bottle of pickles he shared them with my mom and dad. The three of them couldn’t stop raving about the pickles! I brought them over a few more bottles of pickles so my mom could make potato salad with the “good stuff” for a family party where the pickles also got rave reviews! Just sayin- the preliminary results are in and 100% of the test subjects who like pickles loved these! Yes, they were all related to me, but the numbers don’t lie!
Everlasting spicy pickles
Prep: 20 minutes
Inactive: 2 hours
Yield: about 2 quarts
2 pounds Kirby cucumbers
4 red jalapenos
3 serrano peppers
3 small onions
1 head garlic
3 tablespoons coarse salt
8 pieces of dill
2 cups Apple Cider Vinegar
3 cups water
3 Tablespoons Sugar
4 ½ Tablespoons Canning Salt
3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 Tablespoons Pickling Spices
Cut your cucumbers as desired, you can slice them in rounds, make spears or cut long thin sandwich slices; this is simply a matter of preference. Cut onions into 1/2-inch wedges. Cut Garlic in halves lengthwise and quarter the peppers. It helps if you use gloves for this so you don’t get jalapeno eyes.
In a bowl, toss cucumbers, jalapenos, onions, and salt. Cover; refrigerate at least 2 hours.
Make sure the jars and lid you plan to use are clean and dry, you do not need to sterilize as you might with canning because this is a refrigerator recipe and there is no processes involved.
Mix together the remaining ingredients except dill in another covered container; shake until the sugar and salt are completely mixed in with the vinegar mixture.
Rinse and drain cucumber mixture.
Pack the cucumber and jalapeno mixture in the jars you have chosen. Add dill and then pour your vinegar mixture over the top. Let sit in the refrigerator for 48 hours before trying but they get better with age. Keep the pickles refrigerated. Once the pickles are all eaten DON’T THROW OUT THE BRINE! Continue to add sliced cucumbers to the brine and you will have an everlasting jar of pickles.