Saturday, September 15, 2007

Spicy Garlic Refrigerator Pickles

This recipe has more to do with my husband's family background than my own. His paternal grandmother was a South Dakota farm wife who was apparently very much into pickling. She pickled watermelon rinds, eggs, cucumbers, beets, and possibly even pigs feet...I'm not positive about the pigs feet, but my husband has told me that his father used to love to eat pickled pigs feet. So I'm guessing that this was because his father's mother raised him to love that, too.

Anyway, this is not a family recipe from his side of the family. Rather, it's an attempt to recreate something he remembers having when he was growing up.

Apparently, there was also a commercially made product like this produced by company years ago called Max's Pickles. When his family didn't have pickles made by his paternal grandmother, my husband remembers his mother buying Max's Pickles at the store. I did little research this year to find out if Max's Pickles still existed in any form, and I found that the Gedney company bought Max's recipes when Max's went out of business years ago. So then we tried the Gedney Zingers products and found that though they were good, they didn't have the garlicky part of this recipe that my husband remembers and loves. He wanted a crisp pickle that was both garlicky and spicy with whole cloves of garlic and whole chili peppers in each jar.

So then I looked online for recipes and tried a couple this year. The one that I liked the best was from this website address, but I adjusted it a bit. The person who posted the original recipe didn't use as much garlic or as many chili peppers as I used, and I think I would definitely do this recipe with my adjustments again. We really liked the hot, spicy, garlicky kick that these have, and they really are nice and crisp, too.

2-1/2 cups white vinegar
3-1/2 cups water
1/6- to 1/8-cup kosher salt
1T dill seeds
1T allspice
1T black peppercorns
3T yellow mustard seeds
9 dried chilies
9 garlic cloves
fresh dill
6 fat cucumbers (4 to 6 inches long, and they should be firm and green)

Place your whole, uncut cucumbers in a pan with ice water and chill them in the refrigerator for a few hours or even a day ahead of the time when you plan to make your pickles. This will make them even more crisp.

On the day you plan to do the pickling, combine the vinegar, water, and salt in a saucepan. Then add the spices and boil the mixture for three minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.

Take your cucumbers out of the refrigerator. Cut off their ends and quarter them lengthwise. Put them into prepared jars (prepare them by boiling the jars and lids to sterilize them). Add peeled and crushed garlic cloves to each jar, dividing them evenly. Similarly, add the chili peppers from your pickling liquid. Also, add the fresh dill. Then evenly divide the pickling liquid and remaining spices between each of your jars. (I used three large jars that used to contain commercially made dill pickles.)

Leave about a half inch of head space at the top of each jar. Put the lids on the jars and refrigerate. Your pickles should be ready to eat in about a week and will last for at least three months.


USAincognito said...

I love pickles!! :) Especially the ones with a bit of a bite to them - glad you were able to find a recipe close to how your husband grew up eating!! :)

Karen said...

Thanks, Shorty. I love pickles, too!...But you probably already knew that from my blog entries on that topic. If you ever get a chance to try this recipe, I'd highly recommend it. :-)

Eddice said...

There are two Frys stores in Tucson that carry Max's Hot Pickles. Now that I see how many people 'miss' them I think I will go buy them out. I cannot live without them.

Karen said...

Thanks for visiting, Eddice! And what a blessing to still have local stores that carry these pickles! My husband and I have found another alternative this year, in addition to the homemade pickles that I made last year...We're adding red peppers to jars of Claussen's refrigerated garlic dills. They're really yummy, too!

Michael B said...

I remember growing up on Max's Dills.............crunchy, garlicky and most of all fizzy.

I don't know how they got that fizz into the whole pickles, but I was startled as a young boy when I bit into one of Max's Whole Dills and it started fizzing like an Alka-Seltzer in my mouth (not quite that fizzy, but you get the drift). I looked at the pickle and saw (Don Ho) Tiny Bubbles coming from where I had taken the bite. That garlic, briny, fizzy pickle. Going to try your recipe, as Max's are long gone from the shelf, but just wondering if your husband recalls the fizziness as well?

Karen said...

Thanks for the comment, Mike. We hope that you enjoy the pickle recipe. My husband said, at first, that he didn't remember the fizz, but on further reflection he did remember something like that about them. My recipe doesn't have the fizz. I hope that's not a disappointment. Happy Pickle Making! :-)

Michael B said...

I will enjoy your recipe for sure, fizz or no fizz.

I am just starting out on my new hobby here.

I learned that most likely the Fizz from Max's came from the fact that they were made using the 'fermentation' process versus the 'vinegar' process.

The fizz was a byproduct of lactic acid that is created when one creates the pickles using this fermentation process.

I am going to be in pickle heaven.

The fermentation process creates a milky look to the brine after a few days at the bottom of the jar, and this is a natural byproduct of the fermentation process.

I remember that Max's had that milky byproduct at the bottom of the jar as well

I can hardly wait to start.

Karen said...

Thanks, Mike, for sharing what you learned about the fermentation process and Max's pickles. I'd love to hear how it all turns out when you have a winning recipe and process. Blessings on your pickle-making hobby! :-)