Return to the Harvest Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
ISO spicy pickle recipe a la McClure's

Posted by sarahk7 SE MI (My Page) on
Tue, Mar 27, 12 at 14:55

I am a newbie here so please be gentle. I've been lurking for a couple of years now and though I've learned much I have pretty much been scared off all attempts at home canning lest I kill someone! However, I'm feeling bold this year and am wanting to try again this summer. I'll be sticking to very high acid foods!

I want to make and BWB can a fresh (not fermented) dill cucumber pickle that is very very spicy, like McClure's pickles. They are local to me and seriously the best! but insanely expensive - like $9 a jar. The pickles are pretty basic - dill, garlic, dried spices, and several fresh hot peppers such as habaneros. No sugar. Trouble is, despite extensive searching here and in the approved books I cannot find a safe recipe for fresh pack cucumber pickles that includes fresh hot peppers as well.

So I am reaching out to the collective expertise here in hopes that someone can help! Do any of you know of a tested recipe I could use? I'm assuming that I cannot add a fresh pepper or 3 to a standard dill pickle recipe as it would dangerously change the pH.


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: ISO spicy pickle recipe a la McClure's

The pickles are pretty basic - dill, garlic, dried spices, and several fresh hot peppers such as habaneros.

Hi Sarah and welcome! What is missing is how much vinegar they use.

When it comes to fresh pack pickling it is the amount of vinegar used that determines the pH and so the safety issues. For example, the minimum recommended vinegar to water ratio is 50% or 1:1 but if you use straight vinegar with no water dilution you can put almost anything in the jar.

So to get close to the McClure's you want we need to find out what ratio of vinegar to water they use. Any idea? Check out all the pickling info/recipes at NCHFP and see if one of them can be made to work.

Dave

Here is a link that might be useful: NCHFP - PIckling


 o
RE: ISO spicy pickle recipe a la McClure's

I think it's a 50/50 brine. I found this recipe online, which purports to be the recipe taught by the founder of the company (although I can't be sure it's authentic, of course...but it seems about right from what I can tell having eaten them):

McClure's Garlic and Dill Pickles
6 lbs small pickling cucumbers
12 garlic cloves (peeled and halved)
1 -2 bunch dill
3 cups water
3 cups distilled white vinegar
1/4 cup pickling salt or 1/4 cup kosher salt

Directions:

1
Wash cucumbers, and place in a large deep bowl with ice. Cover and put in fridge.
2
Wash dill thoroughly and trim off roots.
3
Place peeled garlic in a small bowl and pour hot vinegar over it. Let stand for 1 minute, then pour vinegar out.
4
Fill a large pot with water. Place a jar in the pot and make sure the water is at least 1 inch above the top of the jar. Remove the test jar and bring the water to a boil.
5
In another large pot, combine the vinegar, water and pickling salt. Bring the brine to a rapid boil. Stir the salt to make sure it doesn't stick to bottom of pot.
6
While pots are getting up to a boil, take cucumbers out of the refrigerator and quarter them. Then take 1 spear and place it in a Mason jar to test its height. Make sure it stands 1/4 to 1/2 inch below the rim of the jar. Trim all the cucumbers to this size. (Keep the little bits for later.).
7
After water is boiling, submerge the Mason jars for about 90 seconds to sterilize them. Remove them carefully with jar tongs.
8
In each jar, place 2 halves of a garlic clove, one small handful of dill, then enough cucumbers to fill the jar, making sure cucumbers are below the "neckline." (If using pint jars, double the amount of dry ingredients in each jar.) Place 2-piece lids in boiling water for 90 seconds, then carefully remove them and place in a bowl.
9
Fill jars with hot brine. Cap and seal the jars. Turn them over to make sure you have an adequate seal.
10
Place jars back in boiling water. Process the sealed jars in boiling water for 10 minutes.
11
Wait a week to two weeks before eating. Refrigerate after opening. Pickles will keep for up to one year if stored in a cool dry place.

This recipe isn't the spicy version - which is what I'm after. There are usually 3-4 hot peppers (fresh) in each jar that I've bought, in addition to the garlic and dill. The jars I've bought also have some dried pickling spices as well, I'm sure of it. Is a 50/50 water to vinegar ratio sufficient to add that many fresh peppers? I'm thinking not? Could I use a stronger brine, say, one from a pepper pickling recipe and use it to pickle cucumbers with a handful of peppers?

Here is a link that might be useful: McClure's Pickle Recipe at food.com


 o
RE: ISO spicy pickle recipe a la McClure's

If you use dried hot peppers you'll get the heat you want with no issues.

I don't know anything about the purported McClure's recipe but I do notice one way they're apparently getting around the low-acid issue is by acidifying the garlic in hot 100% vinegar before adding it to the jars. That's critical with a weak brine.

I just got back from the eye doctor so can't spend much time online, but when I get a chance I'll look at some reliable sources and see what I can find.

Carol


 o
RE: ISO spicy pickle recipe a la McClure's

Yeah it is just a minimum brine and for an untested recipe such a minimum brine isn't usually recommended. As Carol said if you want to use it then switch to dried peppers rather than fresh and I'd recommend dried garlic too. You can always use dried spices and herbs with no concern about changes in the pH.

Dave


 o
RE: ISO spicy pickle recipe a la McClure's

I appreciate the input! I'm willing to up the brine strength. I really think the fresh peppers are key - or at least that's what we especially like about the pickles. I'll play around with it when the time comes and just plan on refrigerating them, not canning. I guess I was hoping to find a tested recipe that has a strong enough brine to use fresh garlic and peppers along with cucumbers.


 o
RE: ISO spicy pickle recipe a la McClure's

I did some searching. Took me forever to find a site which actually lists the ingredients as they're provided on the label.

The label lists vinegar first, water second, so there's no way of knowing if the commercial recipe uses a 50:50 ratio. The purported class recipe does, but it doesn't include the hot peppers, so it might be 3:2 or something else in the commercial spicy product.

I have to admit I'm off on commercial artisan pickles after I saw Rick Fields' recipe for pickled beets in the Williams-Sonoma book. I wouldn't go near that one.

I did find one recipe for "Hot Harkema Dills" in Pickles to Relish by Beverly Alfeld that calls for a 1:1 vinegar water solution and includes 1-3 garlic cloves, sprig of dill, 1-20 Thai or Serrano peppers and 1 tsp. pickling spice per quart. 20 Thai peppers! Now that's hot!

However, it's interesting that she says use baby cucumbers, BWB or pasteurize and then adds Refrigeration is recommended for extra safety . . . even though they're processed.

So it sounds like with a 1:1 solution this recipe is right on the edge. I'm betting if a jar were forgotten and sat at the back of the shelf for a long time before consumption it might have dropped below the line for pH.

Your call.

Carol


 o
RE: ISO spicy pickle recipe a la McClure's

You could try an all-vinegar recipe just to see how you like it. There are some (one called Really Quick Dill Pickles) in The Joy of Pickling. They call for (optional) dried chile peppers, but since it's all vinegar, the same as the pickled pepper recipes, I don't see why you couldn't use fresh if you insist.

But if you want to water down the vinegar, dried peppers is the only way to go. Actually, there are some 1:1 brine pepper recipes in that book, but I wouldn't add cucumbers to them b/c of the water content of the cukes. You could use whole dried peppers instead of flakes in a cucumber pickle recipe if you like eating the peppers, they do reconstitute in the brine.


 o
RE: ISO spicy pickle recipe a la McClure's

Yeah as I mentioned above if you use straight 5% vinegar as the brine you can put just about anything you want in the jar - cukes, peppers, garlic, dill, etc. in any amounts you want.

If you drop the vinegar back to 75% (3 parts vinegar to 1 part water) you would probably still be ok but there is just no way to know for how long without testing.

But one point is if you are going to use fresh peppers you need to be sure to cut slits in them so the brine can get inside.

Good luck.

Dave


 o
RE: ISO spicy pickle recipe a la McClure's

I dry my own habs. That would be one way to get the habanero flavor you're looking for.

Carol


 o
RE: ISO spicy pickle recipe a la McClure's

I'll definitely have to dry some habs this summer! too bad I didn't last year.

Thanks again for all the advice. I have zero desire to play russian roulette with an untested recipe so I think I'll just make some spicy refrigerator pickles - we eat up them quickly anyway, within a week or two.

I've made the Really Quick Dill Pickles recipe from Joy of Pickling many times - one of my favorites and really it comes pretty close to what I'm after here (with the dried peppers). I didn't think it was 100% vinegar, though?


 o
RE: ISO spicy pickle recipe a la McClure's

No, it isn't. But it's a tested recipe which means the ratios have been carefully calibrated.

What Dave's saying is if you're playing around with ingredients on your own and want no risk, then 100% vinegar is the way to go.

So with dried habs that Really Quick Dill Pickles recipe should get you where you want to be plus there'll be the comfort of knowing it's a safe-tested recipe.

Carol


 o
RE: ISO spicy pickle recipe a la McClure's

Oh, I get what Dave is saying, no worries! All vinegar = safer. :) And I am all about the "safer". (Someone upthread suggested that the Really Quick Dill Pickles recipe was all-vinegar so that's why I asked that question.)

I found a source for dried habs, woohoo! Now I just have to wait for cuke season!

Thanks again all! I'll be sure to report back on the results and do a side by side comparison!


 o
RE: ISO spicy pickle recipe a la McClure's

Sorry, it was late at night and I thought I'd mention that there are some all-vinegar recipes in that book, then I actually pulled out the book mid-post and I was looking at the book trying to find spicy pickles, saw RQD recipe said dried chiles, I am sorry I got you confused.


 o
RE: ISO spicy pickle recipe a la McClure's

While McClure's pickles are delicious, the brine is borderline. We once bought a jar from the grocery store and when we opened it, that week, the pickles had gone off. Apparently, they have a relatively short shelf life.


 o
RE: ISO spicy pickle recipe a la McClure's

Here's the recipe I developed that tastes like McClure's Pickles....enjoy! They are great!

Here is a link that might be useful: McClure's Pickles My Way


 o
RE: ISO spicy pickle recipe a la McClure's

Thanks for posting your recipe! I made my first stab at them (using the Joy of Pickling Really Quick Dill Pickles recipe) a couple of weeks ago when my cucumber vines came in. I used Pickle Crisp and extra dried hot peppers (arbols -unfortunately not habaneros as I didn't have them on hand that day). Impatiently waiting another two weeks to try them! In the meantime I picked up a jar of the real thing at the store :)


 o
RE: ISO spicy pickle recipe a la McClure's

Mom's Kitchen - that recipe doesn't seem to meet the required vinegar to water ratio since it calls for 6 cups of water and only 5 cups of vinegar.

Given all the water in the cucumbers the pH of that brine is going to fall even more within a short period of time.

You might also want to note that skin contact burns from working with lime are fairly common. It is quite caustic. So even though you said it didn't bother your hands, gloves are strongly recommended.

Dave


 o
RE: ISO spicy pickle recipe a la McClure's

Sorry Dave, but I am going to ahve to disagree with you on this - my recipe is totally safe to can. It's based on one that Linda Ziedrich has in her book Joy of Pickling. Here's a USDA approved recipe with the same ratio of vinegar to water that I use. http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can_06/quick_dill_pickles.html Best wishes with your canning exploits.


 o
RE: ISO spicy pickle recipe a la McClure's

Finally tried the batch I canned in early July - what a disappointment. Even though I used pickle crisp they were limp and mushy. Ick. And sadly my
cucumber vines have given up the ghost but my habaneros are just coming in. If the farmers market has pickling cukes I might give it another go with dried habaneros.


 o
RE: ISO spicy pickle recipe a la McClure's

Sorry it didn't work out. I have yet to try Pickle Crisp - so far just canned bread and butters (and stuck some in fridge), tried the Dutch Lunch Spears and RQDs (didn't process, older Straight 8's so was afraid they'd be mushy, gave them to my cousin to refrigerate), and have some Half Sours fermenting.

MomsKitchen - NCHFP recipe uses 1.5qts vinegar to 2 qts water, so ratio is 3/4=0.75. Your 5C to 6C = 5/6=0.8333 so actually is HIGHER in vinegar. Just wondering, which JoP recipe did you base yours on? Pasteurization didn't help my B&Bs in 2010 either.


 o
RE: ISO spicy pickle recipe a la McClure's

ajsmama, how do you like the dutch lunch spears? I've always been tempted to try that one but the sugar kind of scares me off. I have this weird thing about sweet pickles BUT I love bread and butters (at least LZ's b&bs "my way" recipe - I make that ever year even though nobody but me eats them). So go figure.

I tried the Half Sours from JoP myself last month and they were super yummy.

Think my next step on my quest for yummy, crisp, spicy pickles will be to make the RQDs with a fresh habanero and just refrigerate them instead of processing. I recently came into an extra basement refrigerator which has opened up a world of possibilities! it's my pickle fridge. LOL.


 o
RE: ISO spicy pickle recipe a la McClure's

I haven't tried the DLS yet, need to give them another couple of weeks. I didn't find B&Bs My Way to be sweet enough, so increased sugar (will have to find my notes), almost time to try one of those (made for my dad).


 o
RE: ISO spicy pickle recipe a la McClure's

Sorry Dave, but I am going to ahve to disagree with you on this - my recipe is totally safe to can. It's based on one that Linda Ziedrich has in her book Joy of Pickling.

Sorry I should have said "your recipe doesn't seem to meet the required vinegar to water ratio for untested recipes" as the minimum ratio recommended for untested recipes is 1:1.

The NCHFP recipe has, of course, been well tested and contains much less low-acid ingredients than your recipe does. With all that garlic, fresh herbs and 28 grape leaves in your recipe I think a much higher ratio of vinegar to water than even the minimum 1:1 requirement would be needed for safety.

Dave


 o
RE: ISO spicy pickle recipe a la McClure's

No problem, Dave! If it would make you feel more comfortable, just add a cup more vingar. The USDA has never made a recommendation atbout a 1:1 vinegar to water ratio for pickling, but you could do that if that is what you prefer. The taste won't be affected much. The other poster correctly showed the USDA's recommendation - the NCHFP recipe uses 1.5qts vinegar to 2 qts water, so ratio is 3/4=0.75. My recipe 5C to 6C = 5/6=0.8333 so actually is HIGHER in vinegar. So that is the USDA's recommendation and mine is more acidic so it's perfectly fine to use. It also doesn't matter what low acid things you are pickling - it can be just cukes, or a combination of cukes and garlic and grape leaves. You could even put carrots in the jar. It's not like a salsa or sauce, where you changing the ratio of tomatoes and onions would be bad. This is a pickle. Hope this helps!


 o
RE: ISO spicy pickle recipe a la McClure's

Just wondering, which JoP recipe did you base yours on? Pasteurization didn't help my B&Bs in 2010 either.

I used JoP Really Quick Dill Pickles....except for mine I skipped the peppercorns. Tastes just like McClures that way! I think they work best with Pickle Crisp. As a canning instructor, whenever I teach my pickle class, this is the technique I teach. Most people don't have access to wild grape leaves (I have a yard full of them) and pickling lime is a pain in the butt to use. Also, if a student doesn't properly rinse it off, it can actually change the pH of the brine, and that is not food safe.


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Harvest Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here