Pickled Sweet Peppers I have been doing for years are one of my favourite preserves and definitely the ones I make in the biggest batches. I have already based my Pepper and Allspice Spread on this recipe and, logically, when I wanted to pickle hot peppers for the first time, I used almost exactly the same method, skipping only allspice and bay leaf, which seemed just too much. I processed my experimental jars several weeks ago and today’s first tasting proved very satisfactory. The balance between the vinegar, the sugar, the spices and the hotness of the peppers is perfect for me. Needless to say, I will buy more hot peppers and make a bigger batch very soon.
I used the Turkish “aci sivri” variety. They were long, bright green and moderately hot. Of course, any hot pepper variety will work here and if you are lucky enough to get hold of jalapeños, I am sure they will be perfect pickled this way.
WARNING: do not forget to put on the gloves before you start manipulating the peppers! If you forget it and touch your nose or eyes afterwards, you will suffer for several hours. Your hands might also get very itchy!
Preparation: 1 hour + processing
1,5 – 2 kg hot chili peppers
about 20 peeled garlic cloves
a couple of teaspoons mustard grains
a couple of teaspoons black pepper grains
1 litre cider/white wine/other alcohol vinegar (mine was 4,5%, if you use a stronger one, add proportionally more water)
1.1 litre water
400g caster sugar
3 T salt
olive oil (or other good quality oil)
Put on the gloves! Cut the peppers’ stems and cut them into 2-3 cm pieces. (You can take the seeds away, but I left them on purpose: I prefer my pickles hotter).
Put the vinegar, the water, the sugar and the salt in a pan and let it boil a couple of minutes, stirring well until all the sugar is dissolved. Put aside.
Fill the jars with hot – not boiling – vinegar mixture, leaving 1,5 cm from the rim. Pour a generous tablespoon of oil in each jar. Close the jars and let them cool down.
Place the cool jars into a big pan, bottom lined with an old kitchen towel folded in two (this will prevent the jars from breaking), cover up with hot – but not boiling- water to the level just below the lid. Bring to boil and keep on a very low heat, in simmering water, for around 20 minutes.
Stick on self-adhesive labels, write the name of the pickle and don’t forget to mark the date.
Wait at least a couple of weeks before opening the jars. As do most pickles, this one improves with time.
NOTE: For the readers who live in the USA, the USDA-approved canning method is different. You can find it described here: http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/publications/uga/using_bw_canners.html.