Pickle Me Sweet (and Spicy)

One of the projects that came from the Apple Annie’s visit was to make some home made pickles with the cucumbers I had picked.  I am a pickle fanatic.  I love dill pickles, sweet gherkins, garlic dills, kosher dills, bread and butter, spicy dills, pretty much if it’s a cucumber and it’s pickled I’m going to enjoy it.  Unfortunately, this love for all things pickle made it difficult to decide on my “first” pickle recipe.  After hunting Pinterest for a few days I decided on a sweet AND spicy refrigerator pickle.  You can find the original posting of the recipe here or you can see below with some of the changes that I made (some were for preference and others due to the amount of cucumbers I was staring with).

Sweet & Spicy Refrigerator Pickles IMG_20131015_193716

  • 4 1/2 pounds of pickling cucumbers, 1/8th inch slice
  • 4 1/2 tsp salt (divided)
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 Tbs mustard seed
  • 1 1/2 Tbs celery seed
  • 5-6 garlic cloves, halved and smashed (I’m a garlic fanatic so I do have the tendency to up it in any recipe)
  • 3 jalapenos, sliced {I removed the ribs and seeds so they wouldn’t be TOO spicy but if you prefer more heat you can leave them in}
  1. Begin by running your jars, lids and rings through your dishwasher to sanitize them. Make sure they are very clean before moving on.
  2. In a large bowl add the cukes, 1 cup at a time, and lightly sprinkle each layer with 1/8 tsp of salt. Continue this layering until you have all of the cukes and have used 1 1/2 tsp of the salt.
  3. Add the onion and gently toss to mix. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature for one hour. This will draw the excess moisture out of the cukes so you will have a nice, crisp pickle. Drain of all liquid at the end of the hour.
  4. The brine: Combine the remaining ingredients, including the remaining salt, in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil gently until the sugar dissolves. This only takes about 2 minutes.
  5. Pour over the cukes and let stand for 10 minutes. Divide among the jars and top with extra vinegar if you find that you need more liquid in the jars. Allow to cool and then top with the lid and ring.
  6. Once cooled, place in the refrigerator and wait one week before enjoying.  Since these aren’t processed, they will only keep fresh in the fridge for 6 weeks.
This filled about 8-9 half pint jars
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I kept a few jars of the pickles and distributed the rest of them due to the short shelf life and they have gotten nothing but rave reviews so far.  I think next time I may either add an additional jalapeño or just remove the seeds and no the veins to add a little more kick.  They are great plain but I used mine in tuna tonight and it was just awesome (made sure to throw in some of the pickled onions too!).  So for a first time pickle this was definitely a success and a recipe that I will repeat in the future I’m sure.  The original blog called them wickedly delicious and they were right.
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IMG_20131013_131808On  a non-pickle side note this weekend project apple butter was completed and between all 4 batches we ended up with a whopping 24 pints!  They are going to make great presents come Christmas time and there will also be the pleasure of always finding a new one in the pantry for a while 🙂
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Apple Annie’s Produce Extravaganza!

Me

Me

This weekend my sister and I took a trip out to Apple Annie’s which is an orchard and produce farm about 90 minutes out of Tucson.  You would think that having lived my entire life in the area and a large portion or it considerably closer to Apple Annie’s than I am now that I would have been before but sad to say this was my first visit.  And let me tell you both of us were like kids in a candy store!

My Sister

My Sister

I will not share the exact amount that was spent but our haul was magnificent with several projects in mind.  One of which, and the most important one, is the apple butter of our youth.   Apple Annie’s is divided into two main areas.  There are their orchards which consist of many varieties of apples, a few varieties of pears and peaches.  Also, located at the orchard is the gift shop and bakery where they have several varieties of apple pies, apple bread, fudge and canned goods galore.  On this trip we picked over 30 lbs of apples including golden delicious, Rome beauties and granny smiths and then over 20 lbs of absolutely beautiful Asian pears.  Of course we couldn’t leave without getting a pie, some bread, fudge and the fresh apple cider needed for the apple butter (ok, ok I know this part wasn’t exactly healthy but you can’t be good ALL the time).

Apple Orchard

Next we headed over to the produce stand where they have fields of you-pick vegetables of all sorts along with the biggest pumpkin patch I have ever seen and a very large corn maze.  Yet again we went a bit over board on the veggies but they all looked so wonderful we couldn’t resist. I got acorn squash, spaghetti squash, butternut squash, pickling cucumbers, green beans, tomatoes, patty pan squash (the perfect size for stuffing), sweet corn, jalapeños, a regular pumpkin and a pie pumpkin.  It was a very “fruitful” visit to the farm and we are both looking forward to all the things that we will be making, enjoying and sharing with friends and family.  So to each of you I say visit your local orchards, produce stands, farmers markets and you-picks to get some fresh local yumminess and more importantly make some memories 🙂

Apples and Asian Pears

Apples and Asian Pears

Veggies

Veggies