Chili peppers, like all other fruits and vegetables, are at their very best right after picking. Refrigeration will delay spoilage only for a few days. Preserving through pickling, drying or freezing extends their shelf life so you can enjoy your delicious peppers year round.
Some of the best chili peppers for pickling and making relishes are the jalapeno, Bermuda hot, pepperoncini, sweet banana and cherry peppers. Pickled peppers can be eaten “fresh” from the jar on salads, nachos, burgers and sandwiches or can be used to spice up meatloaf and cornbread.
Pickling destroys molds, yeasts and bacteria that cause peppers to decompose. Using sterilized containers that seal prevents recontamination of the peppers after pickling. Homemade pickled peppers should be stored in the refrigerator.
Pickled Pepper Pointers
- Use only fresh, unblemished peppers.
- Use only unchipped enamel, aluminum, stainless steel or glass pans to heat vinegar — vinegar will react with brass, copper and iron resulting in an off taste to the peppers.
- Sterilize with fresh boiling water glass jars and lids.
- Jelly jars — the type with a rubber gasket — are the best type to use for pickling. If the only containers available have metal lids use squares of wax paper as a barrier between the lid and the vinegar to prevent corrosion.
- Use cooking salt rather than table salt, as table salt, due to its higher iodine content, can cause the peppers to discolor.
- If you choose to add spices, use only whole varieties; powdered forms will cloud the solution. Popular spices include peppercorns, chopped or whole cloves of garlic, rosemary, celery seeds, coriander seeds, and bay leaves.
- Color can be added to an otherwise monotone mixture by adding whole baby carrots.
- Pickled peppers are best when allowed to mature about 2 weeks.
Making Pickled Peppers
Follow this simple recipe to make your own pickled peppers.
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