It's been a bad year for bell peppers in our garden. They keep having soft spots or just not getting very big before starting to turn red. I'm hopeful that the end of the season will be better than the beginning. The consolation prize is that all the other peppers - jalapenos, cherry bombs, banana peppers, and cayenne - are producing like mad. Which is great and all, but what do you DO with them? Pickle them, of course.
I started with a bunch of peppers and even more questions.
|You'd understand the Spider Man reference if you'd seen the epic spiders I had to battle to pick these.|
Now, I'm an experienced hot pepper pickler, but these are different. I wanted something that would be tart and yummy like peperoncini peppers, but since I didn't grow peperoncini peppers, made with banana peppers. First step is to cut off the top and remove the seeds carefully so you can slice the hollow pepper into rings.
|The gloves are because I'm crazy, not because the peppers are hot.|
|It wasn't a peck, but at times it felt like it was.|
And now, the recipe!
- 2 lbs peppers
- Ball Pickle Crisp Granules
- 5 1/2 cups white vinegar
- 2 tbsp. pickling salt (you can use regular salt, too, but the brine may be cloudy)
- 2 tbsp. sugar
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced (Leave these whole and remove them before packing into jars if you don't like things garlicky. The flavor will intensify in storage.)
- 1/2 cup of water
Bring the vinegar, salt, sugar, garlic, and water to a boil and simmer about ten minutes. Taste the brine! This is important because the peppers will only taste as good as the brine. You might need more salt or more water, according to your taste. You want it to be highly acidic and slightly on the salty side because the peppers will absorb much of the saltiness.
Meanwhile, boil clean jars for at least ten minutes, then dip lids and rims into boiling water. Pack sliced peppers (seeds and stems removed) into hot jars, adding about 1/4 tsp Pickle Crisp granules to each pint jar and pour in hot brine to cover. Press out any air bubbles, leaving 1/2 inch head space. Wipe rims, add lids and process for ten minutes in a boiling water bath. Remove jars and let cool completely. Check for seal.
And just like that - pickled peppers!
It made five pints of pickled peppers, with a very mild flavor. I like everything spicy, so I think next time I'll either add some crushed red pepper, or mix in a jalapeno or two. Even without that, though, I'm sure we will enjoy these this winter on sandwiches and in salads.