Saturday, July 24, 2010

I’m in such a pickle!

A staple in our home is pickles.  Not the run of the mill cukes in a jar that you get from the grocery store.  But fresh, crispy bites of explosive flavor that I make right in my humble kitchen. 

Making pickles is ridiculously simple, cost effective and they are so much better than anything you can buy at the store.  Admittedly, my pickles top the charts in intensity of flavor but that’s the way we like ‘em. 

This recipe is for refrigerator pickles, which means no processing.  Just have room in your fridge and you’re good to go.

7-8 Cucumbers
16 Jalapeños
1 Head of Garlic
Hot Horseradish
Tabasco or hot pepper sauce
White Vinegar
Mrs. Wages Kosher Dill Refrigerator Pickle Mix.

Typically, the cucumbers you buy in the grocery store are waxed which makes them less than optimal for pickling.  However, since I don’t pickle them whole this is not an issue.
Cut the cucumber in quarters.  Cut the jalapenos in half, leaving the seeds in. Separate the garlic cloves from the skin.

The easiest method for separating the skin from the garlic is is to place them on your cutting board, put something flat on top and give it a whack.  After the skins are split from being smashed, they usually peel off easily.

In a one gallon (or several smaller) heat proof container “layer” the pickles, jalepenos and garlic (I like to have enough jalapeños so that I get a piece of pepper with every pickle).  Once the container is full to the top add a couple tablespoons of horseradish, several dashes of hot sauce and a heaping spoonful for pickle mix.
In a large sauce pan bring vinegar and water to a boil (3 parts water to 1 part vinegar – enough to fill a medium saucepan)

Pour the boiling vinegar/water mixture over the pickles, let them cool, put the lid on the container and stick them in the fridge.  They will be ready to eat in about a week but taste best if you let them sit and pickle for at least two. 
The pickles will keep for several months in the refrigerator.  If you don't eat them all right away :)

According to pickle lore Thomas Jefferson was a pickle-eater, may have composed the Declaration of Independence while sucking on a dill, and Julius Caesar fed spiced cucumbers to his legionaries.
Me?  I just send my husband off to work with a spicy pickle every day to remind him of me . . . hot and sassy!

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