Hot & Sweet Pickles

nine pints of homemade sweet hot pickles

Pickles, in general, are one of my favorite snacks. But when my mom introduced me to Wickles last summer, I realized I might have discovered the tastiest pickle of all. Still, while irrefutably tasty, Wickles do have some drawbacks—not only are they around $5 a jar (making them more of a special occasion food for someone on my budget), but they also contain Polysorbate 80 and Yellow 5, ingredients I try to avoid. Unwilling to live without Wickles, I decided to attempt making my own. The last couple summers I’ve experimented with canning (mostly tomatoes and jams), and I’ve been wanting to try  pickles for quite a while anyway. So, tinkering with Emeril’s recipe for Homemade Sweet and Spicy Pickles, I came up with the following recipe:

Knockoff Wickles

3 pounds pickling cucumbers, sliced into 1/4-inch thick slices
1/2 cup pickling salt
6 cups water
3 cups white vinegar
1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
3 1/2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
10 tablespoons roughly chopped garlic
24 dried cayenne peppers

4-6 sterilized canning jars with bands and lids (I like to wash them by hand with warm soapy water and then keep them in the oven at around 200º until I’m ready to use them)

Soak cucumbers in pickling salt and water in a large, non-reactive bowl for 2 hours. Transfer cucumbers to a colander and rinse well for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Combine the vinegars, sugar, mustard seeds, turmeric, cloves, garlic, and peppers in a mediumsaucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and add the cucumbers. Bring to a simmer and remove the saucepan from the heat.

Remove the jars from the oven. Using a slotted spoon, fill each jar with the pickle mixture, dividing them evenly, and enough of the liquid to come within 1/2-inch of the top. With a clean damp towel, wipe the rim and fit with a hot lid. Screw on the metal ring just until the point of resistance is met. Process the jars in a hot-water bath for 15 minutes.

Using tongs, remove the jars, place on a towel, and let cool. Test the seals by allowing the jars to stand at room temperature overnight or until the lids pop. Remove rings and store in a cool dry place for at least 2 weeks before eating.

Because I had no idea how these would turn out, I started small, making only four pints to begin with. As it turned out, they were ready just in time for the fourth of July barbecue we had, allowing me a pretty large test audience. And they were a hit! While they were by no means exact, they were close enough to guarantee that I probably won’t be buying Wickles anytime soon (if you’re reading this, Wickles people, I’m sorry. I’m a grad student, and I just can’t afford your fancy pickles.) Furthermore, on my last trip back to Mississippi I inherited several more pounds of cucumbers from my dad, most of which went into making the second, much larger batch of these pickles.

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6 responses to “Hot & Sweet Pickles

  1. Pingback: Grain Free Sweet Potato Brownies | D is for Delicate

  2. Ericka

    In your methods you say “reduce heat to medium and add the cucumbers and onions. ” but this is your first mention of onions. Should I ignore the onions, or should I add onions? How many/much? I’m looking forward to making my own Wickles! :)

  3. Danielle

    Thanks for pointing that out, Ericka! I based this recipe on another and modified it to make it more Wickle-like. It did call for onions, but I left them out because they are not in Wickles. I would love to know how yours turn out!

  4. Maria

    Been looking for weeks for a copy cat recipe for Wickles but everyone just keeps posting the Emeril one or one with Jalepenos and I just didn’t think they would be anything like a Wickle, I am so happy I found your recipe it sounds perfect I cannot wait to try I have 8 cukes that need to be used and I’m tired of salads, soups and juicing.

  5. Danielle

    Thanks, Maria! I ran into the same problem when trying to find a copycat Wickles recipe, so I decided to just come up with my own. Do let me know how yours turn out!

  6. Mary Crawford

    Wickles: Ingredient list does not include cloves….Instructions do. If I need the cloves, how much?

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