Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Pepper Preservation

"MOM. You are the worst cooker ever!"

That has to brighten your spirits to hear this coming from a four-year-old who's covering his face with a blanket and passing one to his brother in order for him to do the same. While I'm not known for my cooking prowess, I do have an excuse this time around. I don't think a big pot of vinegar and garlic boiling away on the stove top is going to whet anyone's appetite. It was all in the name of pickles.

Last week I wrote about ripping out much of the summer garden to pave the way for fall, but that doesn't mean all that fresh goodness was going to waste. Jonathan pulled all the pepper plants out by the roots and laid them in a line on the grass. Then the kids set to work grabbing peppers. Nora was the most excited about this task, and even babysat the harvest as we moved on to the next chore:

We knew we were going to freeze all those lovely bells to use in soups and chili this winter. That's as easy as slicing, removing seeds, and freezing. The jalapeños were a different story, though. Sure, we could freeze those puppies just as easily, but I prefer a different form of hot pepper. Picked jalapeños are delicious on everything from nachos to hamburgers, so we thought we'd cook up a batch or two. Despite the awful stench that resonated through the house while the brine was coming together, the end result was perfection. I looked through several different recipes for pickling jalapeños online and settled on the easiest {naturally}.

All I did was combine a cup of water, a cup of white vinegar, two tablespoons of kosher salt, four tablespoons of sugar, and a garlic clove or two in a pot. I let that come to a boil, added in the sliced jalapeños and took it off the heat. After letting those peppers warm up for about 15 minutes, I moved the whole thing to a jar and let it cool to room temperature before sticking it in the fridge. I ended up with two pints. I think this recipe should work for canning, but I just did refrigerator pickles. I know they won't last long.

The fresh peppers were still spicy, but that sugar gave them a sweet kick, too. Give this method a whirl if you find yourself sitting on too many jalapeños when the weather tells you it's finally time to pull your peppers.

What are you pickling or preserving this time of year? I have a request for pickled okra, so I may try to figure that out next. Have a great Tuesday, y'all!

 photo signature_zpsf6106f25.png

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I have a freezer full of jalapenos, habaneros and ghost peppers. Needless to say, it was a prolific pepper summer! I just freeze them whole to use later in jams, soups, chilis etc. I usually just chop my bells up and combine them with a mixture of chopped onions and celery, flash freeze in a single layer and bag. It's a terrific mixture to have on hand. Thanks for sharing.