The Elusive Spicy-Sweet Refrigerator Pickle – Attempt II

July 15, 2011

See Pretty Good Refrigerator Pickles for a more successful attempt!

/This week I made a second attempt at making some spicy-sweet refrigerator pickles.  While they garnered accolades from a couple of my coworkers (okay – to me ‘that’s good’ is an accolade, and I only gave them one each), my husband found them too vinegary, and I found that if I ate more than 8 of them the spice and heat were overwhelming.  It wasn’t really like they were too hot, it was just that there was something too in-your-face (or in-your-stomach) about the spicing.  I think I’m going to in the right direction, but I think there will have to be an Attempt III version…  After doing a little reading online, it appears that I either completely missed the inclusion of water in the pickling liquid (highly probable), or the recipes I was using as a reference were some kind of bizarre vinegar-industry promoted aberrations (not likely, but better for my ego).

For vegetables I used small cucumbers and hakurei turnips from the Boulder Farmers’ Market.  I really liked the pink coloring I got when I used radishes in my first spicy-sweet pickle attempt, but wanting to avoid the radishy-hot flavor, I needed to find something else to impart color.  I thought about using beets, but given my previous experience with flavor migration, I didn’t think beets were quite what I wanted.  Earlier in the day as I was spraying a shirt for the laundry, attempting to get out some dark cherry spots, it dawned on me that cherries, which I happened to have, would be perfect!

I made the pickling liquid, intending to use it on both the cucumbers and turnips, but it wasn’t enough for both.  I didn’t have enough apple cider vinegar for a second batch, so I used some white and red vinegar in addition to the apple cider vinegar.  I wasn’t as pleased with the second batch of pickling liquid, so I’m only going to include what I did for the first batch.



Spicy-Sweet Refrigerator Pickles – Attempt II

2+1/2 cups pickling cucumbers, sliced
1+1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup lime juice
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 tsp whole brown mustard seeds
3/4 tsp whole cloves
1/4 tsp whole allspice
3/4 tsp cinnamon chips
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne powder
1 tsp salt

Pack the cucumbers into a deep glass bowl (vinegar can be reactive with metals).  It’s ideal be able to fit small plate in the bowl to weigh down the vegetables so the pickling liquid covers them.

Combine all other ingredients in a saucepan or dutch oven (glass, ceramic, or something lined with teflon, silverstone or enamel – again, due to the vinegar), and bring to a boil. Stir to dissolve sugar, and boil for 1 minute. Pour over cucumbers, cover with a plate to ensure they are submerged in the liquid, and let cool to room temperature, about 40-50 minutes. Cover tightly, and refrigerate overnight.

Cucumbers in Pickling Liquid


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