Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sweet and Spicy Pickles

I decided to make one spicy pickle this year to give away as gifts since my family is not big on hot foods. I chose a recipe from Emeril Lagasse. I found these pickles really easy to make and one of the prettiest pickles that I have ever made. Most pickles just look like green disks floating in some yellowish liquid, but these pickles looked festive with the chunky cuts of garlic and red pepper chunks floating among the green cucumber disks. These pickles present themselves as the perfect Christmas pickle.

When I tasted the pickles they were not too hot. The sweetness of sugar made the hot chilies seem less over whelming. I think I am going to make these pickles again next year as gifts because they do present so well and they are so easy to make.

Ingredients for Sweet and Spicy Pickles (yield 4 pints) from Emril Live episode: homemade deli
3 pounds pickling cucumbers, sliced into 1/4-inch thick slices
2 cups sliced onions
1/2 cup pickling salt
6 cups water
3 cups white vinegar
1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
3 1/2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
4 whole cloves
10 tablespoons roughly chopped garlic
24 dried cayenne peppers
2 teaspoons 100 percent Natural Pickle Crisp, optional


Place cucumbers, onions, pickling salt, and water in a large, non-reactive bowl. Cover and allow cucumbers to soak for 2 hours. Drain the water from the onions and cucumbers through a colander and rinse well for 5 minutes. Drain well and set aside.

Combine the vinegars, sugar, mustard seeds, turmeric, cloves, garlic, and peppers in a medium saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and add the cucumbers and onions. Bring to a simmer and remove the saucepan from the heat.

Fill each of the hot sterilized pint-size preserving jars with the pickle mixture, dividing them evenly, and enough of the liquid to come within 1/2-inch of the top. Add 1/2 teaspoon of Natural Pickle Crisp to each jar, if desired. With a clean damp towel, wipe the rim and fit with a hot lid. Screw on the metal ring just until the point of resistance is met. Process the jars in a hot-water bath for 15 minutes.

Using tongs, remove the jars, place on a towel, and let cool. Test the seals by allowing the jars to stand at room temperature overnight or until the lids pop. Tighten the rings and store in a cool dry place. Let the pickles age for at least 2 weeks before using.

This post was submitted to Meatless Monday


  1. These sound interesting and certainly are festive.

    I grew way too many cucumbers this year and really should have been pickling them. A project for next year I guess.

    I'm still learning how to can, so pickling hasn't come across my "to do" list yet, but it is in the back of my mind.

    Gifts like these are the ones I cherish.

    Thanks for linking to Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays!

    ♥ Rebecca Jean
    Midnight Maniac

  2. Looks good, we have 40 quarts canned for this year, but might find some time time to make a small batch!

  3. having a real hard time to find dried Cayenne peppers, I bet I done spend $ 15 00 in gas and still have none, nobody has them for sell , so now i have to try some other hot pepper, just hope I dont waste all the ingredients and the pickles dont turn out right

    1. Hi Anonymous,

      Your pickles should turn out fine with another hot pepper. :) I am sorry that you spent $15 in gas looking for ingredients. I usually have a lot of luck finding dried hot peppers at Mexican markets. Good luck! Please let me know how your pickles turn out.

  4. What kind of onions do you suggest? White, yellow, sweet? Thanks!

    1. I usually use Candy onions because they are season during cucumber season. :) However, any onion will work in this recipe.

  5. I love pickles! How hard is it "to make" pickles? I eat them like candy. I love trying each and every kind of pickle there is.

    1. Making pickles is pretty straight forward. For a good introduction on how to can, I would check out Balls Blue Book Guide to Preserving. You can find it in the canning section at most grocery stores for around $5.



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