If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers, where in the world did he find a pickled pepper plant? Can you imagine a plant that produces already pickled veggies… Oh my geeze, that sounds absolutely amazing.
This past weekend I spent some time visiting my dad’s family in southern Arizona. The entire week before the trip I couldn’t help but day dream about all the authentic mexican ingredients, spices, and food that was soon to be in my belly. In summary the quick visit was lovely, I could get used to 85 degree weather in April, I miss hiking, and 3 days of binging out on mexican food should tide me over for a while. If you’ve ever visited that part of the southwestern United States you are no stranger to the produce stands that litter the sides of main thoroughfares.
I was amazed by the huge variety of peppers and instantly decided that pickled peppers were in order. This idea led to my hunt for the perfect pepper to pickle, which involved: dusting off my spanish vocab., purchasing the perfect pickling peppers thanks to the advice from my new friend Jose, “smuggling” 2 pounds of slightly wilted peppers across the country in my carry on luggage, and attempting to explain to the people sitting next to me on my flight home why exactly my luggage smelt the way it did. Unlike the pepper items I’ve put up before, these whole pickled peppers are actually very HOT. Thankfully for the sake of my fingertips, this recipe called for no pepper dicing, slicing, or mincing! I plan on using these hot peppers as an ingredient in vegetarian chile, spicy slaw for homemade pupusas, and if I get really brave… inside some chile rellenos. Enjoy!
- 2 lbs chile peppers (small, hot variety)
- 5 garlic cloves (halved)
- 40 black peppercorns
- 3 Tbsp pickling/sea salt
- 2-1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2-1/2 cup water
- 5 tsp olive oil (optional)
- Rinse chile peppers and let soak in ice cold water for an hour before pickling.
- Cut a small slit lengthwise into each pepper.
- In a medium-sized, non-reactive pot combine vinegar, water, and salt. Bring to a boil, remove from heat.
- Pack pint jars with peppers and divide garlic and peppercorns between hot, sterilized jars.
- Ladle vinegar mixture over peppers leaving approx. 1/2 inch headspace.
- Carefully add 1 tsp olive oil to each jar (avoid getting oil on lid).
- Wipe rims (very well), apply lids and rings (finger tight). Process in hot water bath for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, let jars remain covered in canner for an additional 5 minutes to prevent much syphoning).
- Remove jars from water bath canner and let them cool atop a folded towel on the counter for 12-24 hours.
- Store in a cool dry place for at least 3 weeks before consuming.
On the note of pickling with oil: if a veggie has been properly acidulated according to an approved recipe to kill any botulism spores, it can be packed in oil for safe water bath canning.
Stuff to watch out for when canning with oil is a) be really careful about cleaning your rims, b) check regularly for jars that unseal, even quite a while after processing, c) shelf life is not as long as canned goods without added oils.