I love pickles, especially sweet, spicy, cheap pickles. I like making pickles and relishes, but mostly stick to refrigerator, freezer, and cheater pickles because they’re cheap, easy, and fast. And they’re perfect for small batch experiments.
A cheater pickle is a pickle made from a pickle. One popular recipe calls for draining a can of generic, super-cheap dill pickle slices, pouring off the liquid and tossing the drained pickles with sugar – lots of sugar, and then returning the pickles to the jar (you don’t reuse the original brine, as the sugar and pickles create a syrup). You can use the same process for pickled jalapeno slices.
I tried substituting Splenda for the sugar, with poor results. The peppers were quite tasty, but had shriveled up and lost all crunch (some pickled jalapenos have no crunch to begin with).
Last night, I decided to try something new. I drained the jalapenos (reserving the liquid) and tossed the pepper slices with dried minced garlic, which I then returned to the jar.
Into the reserved brine, I added a full packet of Apple flavored sugar free drink mix. I used the Walmart brand (which is like apple juice flavor, not the jolly rancher green apple like Crystal Light’s Appletini).
I will experiment with other flavors, if these turn out well (check out youtube videos for KoolAid pickles, which were my inspiration).
I used apple, because it seemed like the least odd, like using apple cider vinegar and sugar in a conventional pickle recipe.
I’ll taste test in a few days, and let you know how it went.
Update (after 24 hours in the fridge): I was relieved to see that no shriveling occurred. I tasted the peppers, and found the texture unchanged (they weren’t any more or less crunchy than they started). The flavor was good (and I’m sure will get better). I’m not sure whether the sweetness level is right, but I can’t decide if they need to be less sweet or more sweet.
The apple flavor is more intense than with apple cider vinegar, which is a bit strange at first. I think they’d be very delicious on a sandwich or topping for crackers and cream cheese.