Pickled Peppers

2014 1016 Pickled peppers 2This was the year of the pepper. I experimented with varieties we might want to grow in bulk in the future and ended up with a Noah’s ark-worth of capsicums, a tenth of what our local grower claims to tend, but that’s still 50 varieties. (Check them out: Cross County Nurseries and http://www.chiliplants.com. Great but unobtrusive place, sweet people, awesome inventory.

2014 1014 Red peppers for picklingI chose my peppers based on what was available since I ordered very late and went to the farm to pick up, but I spread the selection among sweet-medium-hot, early-medium-late, short-medium-tall, eating raw, stuffed, or pickled, accompanying cuisines from all over the place. In other words, this was a wide and somewhat random sampling. Given our slightly shady yard-turned-garden, it was a crapshoot to say the least. I lucked out. This was a great year to grow peppers locally.

Two of the winners in the bunch I earmarked for pickling are Red Squash and Pilange, both picturesque and prolific. I’d be pleased just to have them as ornamentals. Instead of planting them in the garden next year, I might showcase them in pots with a ground cover of compatible herbs or flowers that keep the soil and roots cool.

2014 1015 IMG_5374 Pilange peppers

Red Squash, also called Red Mushroom, is a crumpled little number, like a scotch bonnet but not hot. The plant grows like a tree, with a central stalk and umbrella-like arching branches that dangle the peppers like ornaments. Same with Pilange, although its habit is an even taller, more slender stalk with branches that spread at least 3 feet across.

2014 1015 Red Squash Pepper

As for pickling, it’s pretty simple. Half water and half vinegar make the base, and salt, peppercorns and spices (or herbs) make the flavorings. Here I used whole coriander seed, black peppercorns, garlic cloves and a little sugar. Last year’s pickled peppers were a little bitter so I thought that sugar would offset the vinegar. I use a cold pack method, meaning that cleaned, raw and pricked peppers (slashing or pricking them let’s the liquid inside) are packed in a jar and hot pickling liquid is poured over them. They’re ready in a day and keep for months in the fridge 

If you use large peppers, cut them up. Mine were very small, under an inch and a half, so I left them whole.

Pickled Peppers adapted from Bon Appetit

1 qt peppers, washed and dried

1½ c distilled white vinegar

1½ c water

2 tbsp pickling or Kosher salt

2 tbsp white granulated sugar

2 tbsp whole peppercorns

2 tbsp whole coriander seed

Prick the peppers in three places with a skewer or small knife. Place them in a very clean, dry quart jar that has a plastic or glass lid.

In a medium saucepan, bring the remaining ingredients to a boil over high heat. Stir to dissolve the salt and sugar. Reduce the heat and let the mixture simmer for 5 minutes.

Pour the hot liquid over the peppers and cap the jar. When cooled, refrigerate the pickled peppers.

Categories: Peppers, PreservingTags:

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