Pickling Peppers

Ever since I planted my Serrano and jalapeño peppers, I’ve been waiting to harvest the fruit. I was amazed how quickly those little peppers popped up and covered the plants. Every other day when I watered them, I would watch them get bigger and brighter.

Serranos On The Vine
Serrano peppers on the vine.

I have previously known nothing about pickling other than it requires vinegar. So I found a few recipes online and all seemed to be fairly consistent, but All Recipe’s added oregano…and since I’m part Italian, it only seemed fitting to use an herb that I love to cook with. Today I went to the store and bought white wine vinegar as the only ingredient I didn’t yet have to pickle them.

Ingredients for Pickling Peppers
Pickling ingredients all ready to go!

I lined up all the ingredients and was about to go outside to snip these lovely little peppers when the thought struck me that I should probably research ripeness. I googled for both Serranos and jalapeños and discovered that only the former was ready to be picked.

According to Robinson Love Plants, Serrano peppers should be a little over three inches long and a half inch thick. They should also have some brown stripes starting to form on the stem. Green is hot, red is hottest. I was fine with the spice level of these and all other requirements were met to begin harvesting.

On the other hand, according to Jalapeño Madness, my jalapeños should be 4-6 inches long before picking (and easily come off with a tug) and mine are only a little over three inches long, though much fatter than the Serranos, and still firmly connected to the vine. I’ll have to wait a few more weeks for these. That’s ok, though, it will give me an opportunity to test the recipe out and see if I want to make any modifications for next time.

I washed my beautiful little Serranos then carefully sliced them. The websites all advised I use gloves, but considering I didn’t have any of those, I was cautious about where I put my hands and quickly washed them with hot water and soap to remove any oils.

Chopped Serranos
Sliced Serrano Peppers

I combined all the ingredients in a sauce pan and heated on medium. The simmering sauce smelled so delicious. I might have to use the same base in other recipes it smelled so good. I had no idea those aromas worked so well together…granted I shouldn’t be surprised since I love garlic and oregano. (I don’t usually cook with white wine vinegar but I certainly will more now!)

Heating Vinegar Base
Heating the vinegar base smelled amazingly delicious!

Once this base started to boil, I immediately scraped the peppers into the pan with a knife, mixed it together, and then took it off the heat.

Marinating Peppers
Marinating pepper slices.

I let them soak and cool for 10 minutes before I carefully used tongs to scoop the pepper slices into two small mason jars. Once the peppers were evenly divided, I poured the base into each jar to cover them. I let them sit to cool for another few minutes before I screwed on the lids and placed them in the fridge. One will go to my uncles and we’ll eat the other once they’ve had the proper 24 to 48 hours to pickle.

Pickled Peppers
Pickled peppers divided into two jars.

I am so excited to try them! I’m also curious how I can start to modify the recipe with either substituting agave or honey for the sugar as I have seen in other recipes based on how well this turns out. We’ll see in a few days!

(By the way, in case you’re wondering…A peck of peppers is the equivalent of 8 dry quarts or 16 dry pints. That’s quite a lot. Four pecks make a bushel. So when you hear about Peter Piper and loving someone a bushel and a peck…those quantities are much larger than my four little pepper plants can produce.)

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