Some of the stem ends of my cucumber are bitter tasting. Apparently this could be due to the near drout conditions the fruit has seen this summer. I water my garden every morning, but sometimes by evening the pots have completely dried out. Cutting a few inches off of the end (and taste testing) removes the bitterness and left me with enough cucumbers to make my pickles. Only a couple of the pickles were affected this time.
- ~2 quarts sliced cucumbers
- 2 cups sliced yellow onions (about 2 small onions)
- ~1 cup sliced jalapenos (4 peppers)
- 1/4 cup pickling salt
- 3.5 cups apple cider vinegar
- 2 cups white sugar
- 1.5 T celery seed
- 1.5 T mustard seed
- 1.5 T red pepper flakes
- pickle crisps - one pinch per jar (yes I have a measuring spoon for this - it is 1/16 of a tsp)
I am very nervous to slice the jalapenos. Many years ago, my roommate was slicing jalapenos and then touched her eye. She was in severe pain for hours and I don't want this to happen to me or my kids. Therefore, I decided to wear gloves when slicing these peppers.
I increased the volume of vinegar and decreased the amount of sugar. I hope to have some left over brine to make some more refrigerator pickles, even if that means that I have to purchase some cucumbers! Other than the proportions, I followed the instructions from the sweet pickle relish recipe I used before.
I had Keith taste one of the cucumber slices after the 2 hours of soaking and he said that he could already taste some spice! I hope that I didn't go overboard with the amount of heat... I ate an onion and could handle it. This may not be the best indication about how spicy these pickles are but at least it might not be totally overpowering.
I'm a lot less stressed with this batch than I was with the last one. Of course, I'm worried about giving someone food poisoning. Or I'm worried about making a jar of mush. This is why I have a small jar with only a few pickles in it so we can test it in a month or so. I boiled the jars for 10 minutes in pre-sterilized jars.
I ended up with 4 pints of pickles plus a few slices in another jar for tasting in a month or so. All of the jars sealed perfectly. I also had enough brine left over to make some refrigerator pickles! I cut a cucumber into spears and then let it soak in the cool brine overnight before tasting them. Sweet and spicy, but low enough spice that I could handle it. (When Lucky tasted the pickle he said that it made his mouth hurt - but he didn't cry or seem unhappy.) They definitely have a kick but something with a low spice tolerance can handle them. However, Keith said that the cooked pickles were MUCH spicier. We'll have to see what happens after they've had time to cure.
Pickles finished 8/25/16