pickled peppers

My garden is hit-or-miss this year. Out of eight tomato plants, three had to be pulled before they bore any fruit lest they spread their blight. One of them, the Cherokee Purple, is rumored to produce the most delicious tomato ever… but every time I go out to the garden, the birds have gotten there first. And another just never got started before it, too, succumbed  to blight. We have three left, trucking away as best they can.

But our pepper plants are going to beat the band. We have a jalapeño plant, a bell pepper, a sahuaro pepper (kin to the Anaheim), and another pepper related to the poblano. We pick whole grocery sacks full of peppers each week, and then spend the week putting them in breakfast tacos and fajitas, on nachos, pizza, and pasta, and generally trying desperately to eat them all.

This week I got smart. I could pickle them.

I’ve never pickled before, but I can follow directions! I’ve been itching to try a recipe from Marisa over at Food in Jars for some time now, so what better time than the present, when I have more peppers on my hands than I can possibly eat?

A word of caution: Marisa warns to wear gloves, as the peppers can burn you. When I read this, I foolishly chuckled, “I’ve chopped jalapeños before with my bare hands with no ill effects! I got this.” Well, ladies and gentlemen, chopping two peppers is quite another matter than chopping two quarts worth. Please wear gloves, and DON’T TOUCH YOUR FACE. Don’t be like me, going to bed with blistered fingers and an itchy face.

Pickled Peppers
Adapted from Food in Jars
Note: I don’t have a scale, but the important thing to know about pickling peppers is the proportion. You will need 1 cup of filtered water to 1 cup of vinegar to 1 tablespoon of pickling salt. To know how much you’ll need, and to avoid waste and guesswork, do this! Once you get your peppers packed in jars, fill the jars with water. Then drain the water into a measuring cup. Divide that amount by two and you have how much water and vinegar you need! The number of cups of vinegar = number of tablespoons of salt. I used God-knows-how-many pounds of peppers, and got six pints.

You will need:
1 pound jalapeño peppers, sahuaro peppers, anaheim peppers, or other small pepper
2 cups filtered water
2 cups vinegar, at least 5% acidity
2 tablespoons pickling salt
~ 2-3 pint-size canning jars, with lids and rings

Wash jars, lids, and rings. Put lids and rings into a pot of water and simmer at least 10 minutes.

Wash peppers thoroughly and cut as desired. (I sliced the sahuaros, and halved the jalapeños.)  Pack into clean jars.

Ascertain how much liquid you need. Once that is done, combine water, vinegar, and salt in a large pan (this is a brine) and heat until hot, but not boiling.

Pour brine over peppers. Tops with lids and seal with rings. Process in a boiling water bath at least 10 minutes, and leave undisturbed overnight. The jar has sealed if the little top doesn’t pop. Put any unsealed jars in the fridge and use those first; sealed jars will keep up to a year in a cool, dark place.