Before summer's deluge of rain destroyed my cucumber crop, I canned about a dozen pints of pickles. Ever since I bought a pint of spicy pickles at the farmer's market, I've been trying to replicate the recipe. I think I've finally gotten it right after tinkering with a few batches last summer. The trick is that I prefer my cucumbers sliced vs. in spears, and the vinegar brine can break down thin slices of cucumber and make them mushy which is just not appealing. That's where pickle crisp can save the day.
Since I like to flavor my pickles with heat vs. a homemade pickling spice, I take a shortcut and use Ball's Kosher Dill Pickle mix and add hot peppers to the brine. Here's what works for me and my preference for a kick of heat. As long as you keep the basic brine recipe the same, you can play with your add-ins trying garlic, any pepper variety, or both. I do find that fresh peppers add the most flavor vs. dried peppers.
Courtney's Spicy Dill Pickles
- 3 1/2 lbs. (about 14 small to medium) pickling cucumbers, sliced to between 1/8" to 1/4" thick, or speared, your preference
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup white vinegar (5% acidity)
- 1/4 cup Ball Kosher Dill Pickle Mix (found in the canning aisle of your grocery store)
- 2 tsp. crushed red pepper, assorted hot peppers (habanero, jalapeño, Serrano, etc.) pierced several times each with a sharp knife. You can also use dried peppers, but they will yield a milder heat.
- Approx. 4 pint or 2 quart jars, prepared for canning.
1. Combine water, vinegar, and Ball Kosher Dill Pickle Mix in a medium saucepan. Heat to a boil.
2. Put 1/2 tsp. of crushed red pepper in each sterilized pint jar or 1 tsp. in each quart jar. Pack cucumbers into hot jars, then insert 1-2 hot peppers per jar.
3. Pour brine over cucumbers, leaving 1/2" headspace.
4. Seal jars with lids, then process pint jars 10 minutes for pints, 15 minutes for quarts. Turn heat off canner after initial time, remove lid from pot, and let the jars rest 5 min. before removing from the canner.
5. Allow pickles to cure 3-4 weeks before you try them. This will allow the heat from the hot peppers to permeate the jars.
thanks to: http://mylidsaresealed.blogspot.com/2013/09/spicy-dill-pickles.html