Pickled Peppers — Approved for small batches
Just open the refrigerator this once and don’t feel guilty at the line up of jars. Dill pickles, sweet pickle relish, sweet pickles, bread and butters, pepperoncini, olives and roasted peppers sparkle like jewels in their vinegary baths. Every meal seems to have just the right complimentary condiment. We make tuna salad with sweet pickle relish, cheese sandwiches and a dill chip, pepperoncini with pastrami, and puttanesca would be nothing without olives. The zest, sweet or spice of a good pickle brightens and accents the best of foods. Just one look at the pickle aisle at the grocery store shows that our love of them has exploded as a wide variety of new products line the shelves with artisanal twists with their haute prices side by side the old standbys and home preserving is suddenly hip again.
The thought of canning can be daunting if you’ve never done it before. Jars, lids, sterilization, water baths, sometimes pressure cookers and a myriad of equipment; funnels, tongs and pots so huge it takes two to move as you handle the truckload of produce that fills your sink. It doesn’t have to be that way. Quick pickles can be made in small batches and even refrigerated to be eaten sooner than later and if you do have a couple of jars a with fresh lids, a quick water bath will seal them up just fine in your own normal sized pot.
The idea of small batches opens up the possibilities for creativity and understanding. Experience gained helps to eliminate the preserving fear by simple stress free practice with low risk. If you have ever put vinegar on cucumbers and red onions in the summer, soaking in the flavor a bit before serving, you’ve made pickles.
Every year I grow a few pepper plants. The variety changes a bit, but usually I have Jalepeno and Serranos as mainstays. This year I have added Italian Long and Thai Chili peppers into the mix. I love watching them grow from green, to yellow to red as they ripen as much as I like just picking a couple for a stir fry, fajita or other concoction. The overall harvest is modest and I do reserve some by freezing, but how many little packets do I need slip sliding in the depths of that abyss?
Not having a peck to pickle provided a perfect opportunity to try the Michael Symons mixed pickle recipe I found on Michael Ruhman’s site. Firstly, the image of the jar just draws you in, secondly if you love, love pickled peppers you know you want them, now!
The simmering, spicy brine mixture is quite heady, as the combination of sherry vinegar, cumin, garlic, pepper and coriander seeds release their aromas and infuses the salty, sweet pickling solution. Do not, do not lean over the pot and inhale — just saying.
Adapted from Michael Symons Mixed Pickled Chillis
- 5 pounds mixed peppers
- 2 tablespoons Sherry Vinegar
- 3 Bay Leaves
- 2 tablespoons whole Coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon whole Cumin seeds
- 3 6" sprigs of fresh Sweet Marjoram
- 4 Garlic Cloves, sliced
- 2 tablespoons Black Peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon Tasmanian Peppercorns
- 2 tablespoons sugar (per 3 cups liquid)
- 2 tablespoons salt (per 3 cups liquid)
- 6 cups white vinegar
- 3 cups water
- Wash and prepare peppers, make vertical slits in small. Pack in clean sterilized jars, leaving a ½" headspace.
- In a large pot combine brine ingredients and bring to a boil. Ladle into hot, packed jars leaving about ¼" inch at the top. Remove air bubbles by sliding a clean knife down around the edges of the fruit. Wipe down jars and seal with sterilized lids.
- Choose to process by using the boiling water canning method, or
- Cool and and place in the refrigerator.
- Pickles will be ready to eat in two - three weeks.
Pepper Preserving Information from Colorado State Extension
Michael Symon’s Mixed Pickled Chillis as posted on Michael Ruhlman’s site.
Note part of this post is a also a food photography challenge laid down by Simone at Junglefrog Cooking. November’s theme for photography and food styling is Food or Drink in Glass. It is a challenge shooting glass vessels and all those reflections! The images you see here are ones from many, many taken. I am constantly learning and working on this.