Using three chile peppers in various forms, these no nukes cukes hold some heat, while simultaneously being balanced by the inherent coolness of the cucumber.
Want it hotter? Leave the seeds and membrane in the fresh chile pepper. Want to adjust the heat? Use any kind of peppers you like, from bell peppers to scotch bonnets to Carolina reaper (DISCLAIMER: use peppers at your own risk!) ???
Think all pickles are fermented? Think again– and learn the differences!
- 1 lb./½ kg. cucumbers (slicing or pickling varieties)
- 2 jalapeño or other chile peppers
- ½ tsp.(2.5ml) cayenne pepper powder
- ½ tsp.(2.5ml) California (aka Anaheim) chile pepper powder (or another mild variety)
- 1 pint/ ½ liter filtered water
- 1½ Tablespoons/ 15-20 ml fine sea salt (about 5% brine by weight)
- 1 tablespoons /15ml pickle brine (Optional)
- 1 large grape leaf, 2 bay leaves, or 1 other large fruit tree (apple, stone fruit) leaf
- Scrape the tip off the flower end to ensure there are no flowering parts (enzymes & molds can make pickles mushy). Rinse off any dirt from cucumbers. If using slicing cukes, slice into ¾″ thick pieces. Leave whole if using pickling (Kirby) variety.
- To a clean quart glass jar or ceramic crock, add grape leaves, cayenne and California chile powder.
- Cut stem off jalapeños, then slice lengthwise in half. For more heat, leave seeds and membranes intact. For less chile heat, scrape seeds and membrane out, leaving only the green fleshy part.
- Add cucumbers to jar
- Mix Brine: Stir sea salt into filtered water until salt dissolves.
- Add pickle brine from a previous batch to container.
- Place a lid or plate that is slightly smaller than the diameter of the container on top of cukes. Add a weight like a jar or wine bottle filled with water. OR, If using a small batch fermentation kit, add the weight(s) to the jar.
- Slowly pour brine into jar until there’s enough to cover the contents. Leave about one inch from the top of the container (if using mason jars).
- Cover container with a tea towel or clean dishcloth to keep dust and flies out, and secure with twist ties or a rubber band. OR if using small batch fermentation kit, apply the fermentation lid per the instructions.
- Place in a cool, dark spot in your house. Taste after 5 days. If still too crunchy (like a raw cuke), let ferment a few more days.
- White yeasts and mold may form on the surface that is exposed to air. THIS IS NORMAL. Remove weight and plastic lid, wipe or spoon out as much of the mold as you can, clean lid and weight with warm soapy water, dry thoroughly and add back to the jar.
- When you like the taste and texture, remove the weight, transfer to refrigerator and place a tight lid on container. Pickles will last up to 6 months in the fridge.
Here’s the Scoville scale, a scientific-ish way to measure heat of chile peppers.