My husband is a lifelong fan of the pickled pepperoncinis familiar to most Americans as the zippy layer of a deli sandwich, but good luck trying to find an organic jar of pickled peppers, let alone a domestic or local one at most markets. A couple of years ago, I decided to treat my sweetheart to homemade pickled peppers and discovered it was so easy and produced such a superior canned pepper, there is just no reason in the world to buy them from a store ever again. The nicest thing about canning your own peppers is that you can choose the heat level you like. I’m married to a farmer who delights in eating the hottest peppers he can find; but this farmer’s wife melts into a feverish pool of pass-the-water at anything spicier than gingerbread. I can make super hot pickled peppers for my husband, but if we wanted to enjoy the results of my canning together, I had to find a compromise.
Thank goodness for the wax pepper called Gypsy with it’s very mild heat, just a few degrees warmer than a bell pepper. When picked unripe, Gypsy is a pretty, translucent yellow with a fantastic crisp crunch. When pickled it turns a light olive green, just like deli pepperoncinis. But, like Peter Piper in the nursery rhyme, you can pick whatever pickled pepper strikes your fancy. What I want to show you is how totally simple refrigerator pickled peppers are to can. There is just nothing hard about this.
Basic Refrigerator Pickled Pepper Recipe
Organic peppers of your choice
Organic Rice Vinegar
Organic fresh or dried dill
Get some mason jars with clean lids (no rust). Boil lids and jars in a big pot of water to sterilize them. You’ll have to estimate the number of jars you need to contain your peppers. We’ve found that we can fit about 4 Gyspy peppers in 1 16 oz. mason jar.
Get the freshest peppers you can find, and choose ones without blemishes. Wash them well and then dip them into boiling water for just a second to kill any bacteria that might be on the skins.
This recipe is for quick refrigerator pickles – not for the kind you pressure can and store in a pantry. Because we’d like to be able to eat the pickled peppers as soon as possible, we cut them into thin strips. Cut off the top of each pepper, dig out the seedy core and then julienne cut them into long strips about 1/3 inch wide.
Cut up some cloves of garlic and wash fresh dill and put a portion of both in each jar. How much you use is up to you.
Next, put the pepper strips into the jar.
Now you make your pickling brine. In a big stainless steel pot, combine 1 part rice vinegar with 1 part water. Again, you’ll have to estimate how much of this you need. For every cup of liquid, add 2 tablespoons of salt. Bring the mixture to a boil and stir with a wooden spoon until the cloud of salt dissolves and the liquid becomes clear again.
Scoop up the hot brine in a measuring cup and fill the jars to just below the top. Cover the jars with a sheet of waxed paper and let cool.
Once they are cool, cut a sheet of waxed paper or parchment paper into little squares and put one atop the mouth of each jar. Put on the lids good and tight. Stick a label on each jar with the date you made the pickled peppers and put them in the fridge.
Your pickled peppers will be ready to eat in 1 week and will keep in the fridge for up to 6 months!
Variations on the Pickled Pepper Theme
If you like them sweet…add 2 T. maple syrup to each 16 oz. jar of pickled peppers when you put your dill and garlic in.
If you can’t stand the heat…use bell peppers. You can pickle green, yellow or red bell peppers for completely mild pickled peppers.
If peppers have always given you indigestion…try peeling them before you pickle them. I don’t guarantee that this will work, but old wives’ tales say so, and no one knows more about the arts of gastronomy than wise old wives. Interestingly, both cucumbers and peppers have a dyspeptic effect on some folks, resulting in burps. However, there is something about pickling foods that seems to render some of them more digestible. For example, many people who can’t eat a raw cucumber can eat a pickled one, and this can apply to peppers, too. If you’d like to be able to eat peppers, skin them and pickle them and try a small amount at a time to see if you find them palatable.
If you’d like something different…add 1 T. prepared mustard to every 16 oz. jar for mustard pickled peppers – very zippy! This is a nice alternative for people who have trouble with hot chiles but enjoy other types of warming spices. The mustard gives just a little heat and a nice and different flavor.
Peppers Are A True Native American Food
500 years ago, Hungarians had no paprika for their goulash, Italians had no pepper for peperoni and Indians had no curry power for curries. But in South and Central America, the genus Capsicum had long added color and fire to the daily dishes of the people. This much-loved plant, originating wild in the rain forests of South America, has been under cultivation for countless generations and only ended up in the ‘Old World’ as a result of European conquest.
Today, in North America, bell peppers and jalapeno chiles are the varieties most commonly grown commercially, but thanks to farm markets and the local food movement, many Americans are becoming acquainted with heirlooms and hybrids with all kinds of winning qualities. If you are a pepper or chili fan, it can be hard to imagine a world without these fantastic fruits. If you love peppers, you would do well to give thanks to the Indigenous peoples who first recognized their spicy virtues.
Here at VeganReader.com, we proudly promote Native American foods as the most natural choice for diners in the western world. These are the plants that are happiest growing here and with combinations like corn, beans, squash, potatoes, tomatoes, chile peppers and chocolate, you can’t go wrong in the kitchen!
Pickled peppers are a wonderful option for enjoying a Native food, adding savor to sandwiches, tacos, tostadas, salads, salsas, vegetable dishes and appetizer trays. Can them in pretty jars or create your own colorful labels and a present of homemade pickled peppers makes a gift of great distinction.
You may find pepper canning recipes elsewhere on the web that will make hard work of what should be an easy task. We sincerely hope that this ultra-simple refrigerator pickled pepper recipe will show you that you can make these gourmet treats in a snap and, thanks to the technique of cutting them in strips, you only have to wait a few days before you can start eating them! Do up a whole bunch in an afternoon and you can be enjoying your own pickled peppers for months to come.
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