We absolutely love hot & spicy pickles. We eat them on sandwiches, as a quick afternoon snack, and even put them in our Bloody Mary drinks on Saturday morning.
However, they are not easy to find at most grocery stores. In fact, we have found only one brand of spicy pickles on the shelves. And only at one specific grocery store chain.
We have found Famous Dave’s Devil Spit Pickles only at Kroger. Even when we were traveling across the country and visiting several different grocery store chains, we were unable to find a jar anywhere.
So when we started to harvest our cucumbers from the garden this year, and made all of the dill pickles, bread and butter pickles and sweet relish that we could eat, we decided to give hot & spicy pickles a try.
And I have to tell you, they have become our new favorite pickles to make, and eat!
Although they provided a good amount of heat, it isn’t enough to make your eyes water. In fact, after making the first batch, I actually added more heat when I made the second and third batch.
And I was sure to to label the jars with the extra heat so we don’t get any unexpected surprises when we open up the pickles in the middle of winter.
How to Make Hot & Spicy Pickles
Just like with any pickle recipe, start off with fresh, just picked cucumbers. The firmer the cucumbers, the crunchier your pickles will be.
And as always, pickling cucumbers are better to use than salad cucumbers. They not only have a smaller seed core, but they also have a tougher outer skin. Therefore, the chances of your pickles remaining crunchy after the canning process is much higher when you use pickling cucumbers.
One final word on the cucumbers themselves. Be sure to cut the ends off the cucumbers and discard. The blossom end contains an enzyme that will leech out during the pickling process and cause them to become limp.
Now that you know which cucumbers are best to make hot & spicy pickles, start by slicing your cucumbers in 1/4 inch slices. We like to use a crinkle cutter to make them look fancy. However, any knife or mandoline slicer will work.
Then add your vinegar, water, salt, sugar and turmeric in a large stockpot. Next, wrap your dill and pickling spices in a tied cheesecloth bag and place it in the liquid.
Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to allow the brine to simmer for 5 minutes.
The Canning Process
While the liquid is on the stove heating up, prepare your canning jars. First place some peppercorns, garlic and red chiles in each sterilized and cooled jars. Then pack them full of the sliced cucumbers, leaving 1 inch headspace at the top of each jar.
*If you like things on the hotter side, feel free to add red pepper flakes and a few more chiles to each jar.
When the brine is ready, remove the cheesecloth and pour the liquid into each jar. Again, remember to leave 1 inch headspace at the top of the jar to allow for expansion.
Next, run a plastic utensil down the inside of each jar of the hot & spicy pickles to remove any air bubbles that may be caught in the liquid. Add more brine if necessary.
Now wipe the rims of the jar clean and place a clean lid on top. Tighten the the ring to finger tight only.
Place in a water bath canner, making sure that there is approximately 2 inches of water above the top of the jars.
Heat until the water begins to boil. Then start the processing time of 8 minutes.
When the processing time for the hot & spicy pickles is up, remove the water bath canner off of the heat and carefully lift the lid away from you.
Remove the Jars and Check The Seal
Allow the jars to sit in the hot water for 5 minutes before removing them to a thick towel. Let cool for 24 hours and then check to make sure each jar sealed.
You will know if the jar sealed properly when you press down on the center of each lid. If it doesn’t move, the jar has sealed and is ready to be stored in a cool, dark place.
However, if the lid pops up and down, place that jar in the refrigerator. It would not be safe to store on the shelf.
Now here is the most difficult part. You must wait at least 2 weeks before opening the jar. This allows time for the pickling process to occur and for the flavors to penetration into the pickle.
Mary and Jim
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