I packed a pint of pickled peppers

Yesterday’s sharebox included a bag of a dozen or so decent-sized jalapeños. That’s a lot. More than we can eat before they start to go hinky.

So I skimmed off 4-5 larger peppers for a batch of roasted salsa this weekend, and the remaining half pound split perfectly into to two half-pint jars that’ll feed us over the winter, adding a tangy zip (or a zippy tang?) to cold-weather chilis and half-time nacho plates.

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Simple Pickled Jalapeños

A little sweetness takes some of the sting out of hot peppers (see off-dry Riesling with Thai food). I’ve tinkered with using cider vinegar, adding sugar, and adding honey, and I like this honey version best.

  • 1/2 pound fresh jalapeño peppers, rinsed
  • 3/4 cup white vinegar
  • 3/4 cup filtered water
  • 1-1/2 tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp honey

Sterilize a pint’s worth of jars (when I’m picking out jars, I try to keep in mind how quickly I use something once it’s opened; a single pint just seems too big to work through in a few months—plus, it takes up more space in the fridge—so halfs or quarters are a better fit for us). Prep the lids by setting them to simmer in a separate pan.

Bring the vinegar, water, salt, and honey to a boil.

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Maybe it’s the crazy “heat dome” the Northeast has been under this year, but our local hot peppers have been HOT. Gloves are a must.

Meanwhile, wearing gloves to protect your fingers (and subsequently your eyes and other delicate parts), slice the peppers into rounds (mine are usually about 3/8″). Some folks punch out the whitish membrane and seeds from the center; I do not.

Pack the jalapeños into the hot jars. Carefully funnel the hot brine into the jars, leaving about half an inch of headspace. Lightly tap the jars on the counter to settle everything and release any air pockets. If any bubbles remain, use a chopstick or bamboo skewer to pop them—and if removing that air causes the brine level to drop, spoon in a bit more liquid to top it off again.

Wipe off the rims with a clean cloth, apply the warmed lids, and process in a hot-water bath for 10 minutes. Remove the jars to rest and cool on a folded towel. After an hour, check the seals. Any jars with lids that failed to “ping” will need to be refrigerated or reprocessed.

Be patient and wait a week or so before you open these pickles, since the brine needs some time to fully infuse the peppers. Once you open them, try to use them up within six months.

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A bit of a batch from last month made it into Sheila’s sweet corn and black bean enchilada bake last night. Mmmmm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 Comments Add yours

  1. savannagal says:

    I like really spicy food. I’m wondering if leaving out the honey will have any effect on processing or shelf life other than removing the sweet taste from the end product. I’d like to just leave it out so I have more heat. Thanks much.

    1. Susan says:

      Oh, surely you can leave the honey out if you’d rather–I just thought our peppers were so hot this year that they needed to be tempered a bit. Without that tiny touch of sweet, though, I think you need something else to round out the peppers’ sharp profile, so maybe try cutting the white vinegar with a portion of cider vinegar. Good luck, and thanks for stopping by!

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