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You Can Pickle That: Jalapeno Peppers

By Anthony Todd in Food on Oct 21, 2013 7:00PM


The high temperature in Chicago today is yet another reminder that autumn is here. That means it's time to clean out the gardens, put away the canning equipment and call it quits for the year. Before you put the last jars back in the drawer, we've got one last recipe for you.

One of the last crops to finish in our garden is always jalapeno peppers. Partly, this is because they preserve better on the plant than in the fridge. If you leave them until you need them, ripe peppers can sit happily for weeks. Unfortunately, they're not so fond of frost. That meant that this weekend, we pulled out pounds of peppers from the garden. Frankly, you can't eat that many peppers before they go bad. What to do?

Well, one option is to freeze them whole, which took care of about 20. That didn't solve our problem. Unlike tomatoes, no one seems to want jalapenos when we tried to give them away. That left canning, and the easiest method is to pickle them. Luckily (since we're experiencing some canning fatigue at the end of a long year), it's one of the easiest canning recipes there is. You can put these on sandwiches, add them to pastas and sauces or, if you like heat, eat them straight out of the jar.

A word of caution. If you're sensitive to peppers, you may want to wear gloves when preparing this recipe. Even if you aren't sensitive, we'd use an extra cutting board rather than your primary board, because you're going to want to give it a good washdown immediately. Otherwise, everything you make for a week will be spicy. Oh, and be sure not to rub your eyes at any time during this process.

Pickled Jalapeno Peppers
Makes 3 pints

2-3 pounds jalapeno peppers
6 cloves of garlic, peeled
3 teaspoon mustard seed
2 cups white vinegar
2 cups water
6 Tablespoons sugar
6 Tablespoons kosher salt

Clean your jars thoroughly. Put two cloves of garlic and 1 teaspoon of mustard seeds into each jar.

Trim the ends off of the peppers and cut them into 1/4 inch slices. Pack the jars with peppers as tightly as possible, leaving about 1/2 an inch of headspace.

In a medium sized pot, combine the water, vinegar, salt and sugar. Heat on medium and stir to combine. Be sure to taste the brine and adjust salt and sugar to your taste. Then, using a funnel, fill up the jars with brine and seal.

These will keep in the refrigerator for weeks and weeks, but you can easily can them in a boiling water bath. Process for 20 minutes and make sure you check the seals.

Happy fall!