Earlier this year I sat down with my wife and discussed planting a garden. Since neither of us had ever planted a garden before we really had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. We decided not to start anything from seed, and chose to buy started plants from our local greenhouse. We decided for our first garden that we would like to try green beans, zucchini, brussel sprouts, jalapenos, and two different kinds of cucumber, regular cukes and pickling cukes.
Since we planted our garden back in May we have had a good mixture of successes and failures. Our zucchini plants took off strong and started producing early and often. We almost couldn't eat them fast enough and I was able to can some zucchini pickles and a very tasty zucchini relish. Then almost as quickly as they grew, they rotted away, got mushy and died. It was very strange that a plant could be doing as well as those two were and then almost overnight be gone.
Our jalapenos have been equally strange, they haven't grown at all since we bought them and are still about 5 or 6 inches tall, but they are growing peppers. There are three jalapenos out there that are about ripe and need to be picked. The plants didn't grow, they didn't die they just stayed the same. Our green beans have been our only stable plant and have done very well. I was hoping to get more beans out of them but have decided that next year we will need to double the number of plants. We are getting about one meal of green beans a week right now but not enough to can or pickle.
Which leaves us with the cucumbers, I have never seen a plant take over an area the way our two cucumber plants have. The regular cucumber plant has over taken most of my garden area and is putting out 6-10 enormous cucumbers a week. My pickling cucumbers are doing the same thing. I was hoping for enough pickling cukes to get a batch of bread and butter pickles done but have gotten so many that I have started experimenting with new pickle recipes.
So far I have been able to can 3 quarts of whole dill pickles, 6 pints of sweet dill slices, 6 pints of honeyed bread and butter pickles and 3 quarts of Sriracha pickles. The Sriracha pickles being the experiment. I wanted to try to make something with a little heat but still be packed with pickle flavor. I have tried a lot of peoples "hot pickles" and a lot of them lose all that pickle flavor to the heat. These turned out amazing and have a good amount of heat but still maintain a nice Briny quality that I love in my pickles.
My Sriracha Pickles
3 pounds pickles cucumbers
4 cups apple cider vinegar
4 cups water
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup pickling salt
1/4 cup sriracha
1 tablespoon coriander
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
whole black pepper
Slice the cucumbers how ever thick yo would prefer and sprinkle with pickling salt. Let the cucumbers sit at room temp for 1 hour. Rinse the salt off all the pickles. sterilize 3 one quart jars or six pint jars, then add to each quart jar 2 bay leaves, 2 cloves of garlic and 20 black pepper corns. (half that for each pint jar). Then stuff the jars with rinsed pickle slices. In a large pan heat the vinegar, water, sugar, Sriracha, coriander and pepper flakes until boiling. Ladle the pickling liquid into the jars, leaving half an inch at the top of each jar. boil in a water bath for 10 minutes and let sit in a cool place for at least a week.