We were strolling around the farmer’s market last weekend when the intense and fervent notion to make jalapeno dill pickles struck. Great timing, no? Actually, I’d been kicking the idea around ever since my cousin had made a batch a couple weeks ago and graciously sent me the recipe, but I hadn’t mentally committed to the task until I spotted them: two adorable buckets of perfectly sized cucumbers nestled under a table in one of the veggie stalls. A good mix of sizes, but not too big. And at 10 bucks a bucket, how can you go wrong?! Especially when the same stall is selling jalapenos that look amazing!?
You can’t. It’s a scientific fact. So of course I bought both buckets. And the jalapenos. John was making some “let’s be reasonable” noises that I promptly/foolishly tuned out. Truly, the man has a better sense of scale than I do…I see two buckets of cukes and think “let’s MAKE ALL THE PICKLES!!!!!!!”. John sees me see two buckets of cucumbers and realizes this means “we will be making ALL THE PICKLES UNTIL WE CAN PICKLE NO MORE”. And that this is usually slightly more work than I’m willing to admit. OK, always.
As usual, making the pickles was a team effort. John washed cukes, I sliced, we both packed jars. These are basic dill pickles with a quarter jalapeno added to each (pint) jar (and a few boiled up with the salt brine for extra kick!). We used my family’s tried and true cold-pack/inverted jar method…definitely not sanctioned by the USDA, but we have many surviving pickle eaters, so I’m pretty OK with it (based on that observation, plus knowing that the pH of the brine is outside the threshold for botulism growth). We packed the raw cukes and seasonings into hot jars (I run mine through the dishwasher and leave them in it till we’re ready for them–easy peasy), poured boiling brine over the contents, and then plucked a lid out of the pan of boiling water on the stove, screwed it down, and inverted the jar for a couple hours. When you turn the jars upright, they should have sealed. Any that don’t seal go straight into the fridge. The rest get to hang out until Thanksgiving (well, traditionally, anyhow–we always crack into the summer pickles that week).
Unfortunately, 28 pints of jalapeno dill pickles only used up about half of my jalapenos, so now I get to make more jalapeno stuff!! (Did I say unfortunately? I lied. This is an awesome problem to have!!). I think I’ll start with a batch of jalapeno mint jelly, and maybe follow that up with some straight up pickled jalapenos. A further testament of my love of Small Batch Preserving–they’ll both be small batches, but it’ll be nice to trot them out when we need a tiny reminder that winter isn’t endless!