Emeril's Homemade Sweet and Spicy Pickles ! I had a moment a couple of months back. I'm standing in my kitchen and I open a new jar of pickles.I tasted these pickles from Wickles Pickle Company and they were spicy and sweet and garlicky and spicy again with a sweetness that stopped me in my tracks. The pickles were just real tasty and they had a familiarity about them I couldn't ignore. SO the night moves along and the light bulb turns on,I recognized the different tastes because I had made something similar to these garlicky sweet pickles. The moment was pretty stunning,kinda like buying a new shirt and wearing it all over town. You decide you really like the shirt and it looks really good on you. You go home that night and notice there in your closet the exact same shirt,only it's a different color and the button is in a slightly different place... ok well something like that( ok folks it was monumental). The difference between the pickles I made and Wickles pickles was a. mine were way too garlicky and b. there's were just dang good,bottom line. I go along with my week and still have a taste for the Wickles pickles and I HAVE to find a recipe similar to there's and I have to find it fast. The recipe search was on. I had to assume the flavors and taste and seek out a recipe that covered the basis of what I thought the pickles should taste like when I made them.I had to hope for the best (cause you know what happens when you assume...).
Well see I got lucky, way lucky.I found the recipe Emeril's Homemade Sweet and Spicy Pickles.The garlic,sugar,vinegar and red pepper taste that read through on the recipe page came real close to what I thought was in those pickles,oh the Wickles. I printed out he recipe,found the dried cayenne peppers at my favorite spice store and I was off! Ok ,well had to wait just a bit for pickling cucumbers to come in season,so I waited. And waited and in the meantime got the big pot and rack I needed to can these pickles. The cucumbers were now in season and I made some delightful bread and butter pickles (Linda's way) and was now ready to be spicy and sweet. The only other hill that I had to climb (now remember this is work,but fun. right. uh huh...) was the garlic. Nothing to intimidating about garlic,really,except when the recipe reads "10 tablespoons roughly chopped garlic"...oh. The math here is this : 1 garlic clove( chopped) = 1/2 tsp of garlic (follow me here) 3 tsp = 1 TBL so that means, 6 half tsp garlic = 3 tsp garlic =1 TBL garlic ,SO I needed 60 garlic cloves to equal 10 TBL of roughly chopped garlic,oh Emeril. (if I lost you in the math,catch up cause we're moving on,I know numbers lose me too sometimes) I took the hard way out for a reason unbeknownst to me now and peeled all 60 cloves,chopped the up in the food processor (now she's gettin' with it) and it was on to makin' pickles.
recipe courtesy Emeril Legasse, 2005 and the lovely foodnetworktv.com
Makes 4 pints
NOTE: Another reason to buy from the farmers markets: ripe pickling cucumbers are darker green,firm and not bloated.They are shorter and chunkier and have plenty of bumps on the outside.Choose cucumbers that have not been coated in wax. The wax coating makes it hard for the pickling brine to penetrate the cucumbers skin.The fresher the cucumber the crisper the pickle.
3 pounds pickling cucumbers,sliced into 1/4 inch thick slices
2 c sliced onions
1/2 c pickling salt
6 c water
3 c white vinegar
1 1/2c apple cider vinegar
3 1/2c sugar
2 TBL yellow mustard seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric
4 whole cloves
10 TBL roughly chopped garlic
24 dried cayenne peppers
1. Place cucumbers,onions,pickling salt,and water in a large non-reactive bowl.Cover and allow cucumbers to soak for at least 2 hours. Drain the water from the cucumbers and onions through a colander and rinse well for 5 minutes. Drain well and set aside.
2. 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 heat.
3. (NOTE: it helps to heat the jars up with hot water just to sort of prep them for the hot liquid thats coming soon)
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 headspace of the top. (Add 1/2 tsp of pickle crisp to each jar,if desired) With a damp towel wipe the rim and fit with a two-piece lid and rim. Screw the lid just to the point of resistance is met. Process the jars in a boiling-water bath for 15 minutes. Remove the jars form the pot with a jar grabber,let cool completely on a cooling rack. You will hear a higher-pitched ping when the seal takes. Let the jar and its contents cool completely,when cooled and the seal has taken screw the lid on tight. Let the pickles age 2 weeks before eating. Oh the excitement,I'll let you know if I have any left. I'll share I promise...