Recently, a very dear coworker brought in some sweet hot pickles. It's a Southern thing, and we've adapted it for use on the farm. It's sort of a quick type pickle. The pickle company has already done all the hard work, you just make them sweeter and spicier and add a few extra veggies. It makes the perfect condiment for topping burgers or sandwiches, but one of my favorites is to have a bit on a cracker covered in cream cheese. YUM.
So you buy a jar of sliced burger pickles. We like the slightly thicker ones that are sliced at an angle, but you can use the regular burger sliced style. This recipe is for the large jar, I believe it's one gallon. Then some carrots, jalapeños, onions, and garlic. I used six peppers, three onions, and about a pound of carrots.
Take the pickles out of the jar, drain in a colander and discard the juice. You won't need it, it will make it's own again. Slice up the carrots, onions, peppers. You can discard the pepper seeds to reduce heat and the garlic you can either leave whole or chop into pieces.
Next, open a 4 lb bag of sugar. Yes, you'll use most all of it. It also helps to have all of your stuff lined up and ready to use.
Put a layer of pickles, onions, carrots, pepper and garlic in the bottom of the jar...
...then pour a layer of sugar over all of that. You kind of just have to eyeball it and when it's more or less a layer of its own, start on the next one.
Keep repeating and layering until you use up all the veggies and pickles and then top it off with sugar. Along the way, if you seem to be running out of room, just mash it all down with your hand or the bottom of a drinking glass. Clean the top and screw the lid back on.
For one week, leave it on the counter in a cool dark place and once a day, you turn it upside down. We put it on a foil lined baking sheet just in case it leaks. It didn't, but better safe than sorry.
After a week of doing this, it should be marinated nicely and the flavors developed and then you just put it in the refrigerator.
Initially it will look like this, kind of pale, but as the sugar dissolves and it settles in the jar...
...it will darken up a bit and look more like this. No other liquid was added, the sugar dissolves and interacts with the moisture in the veggies and creates more, kind of like maceration with fruits.
After a few weeks of maturing in the fridge, they turn sweet, spicy, and soft and just so good. I could eat them on their own (and have) but they are good on a burger or sandwich. As I mentioned earlier, another favorite way of having them is to put cream cheese on a cracker and a bit of this on top. The cream cheese cuts a bit of the heat and it enhances the sweetness of the pickles and other veggies.