Ah, the pickled pepper! For anyone who has grown hot peppers, you know that the plants are extremely prolific, providing more hot peppers that the average person could eat while they are fresh. This is why so many cultures count on dried peppers for heat. All one needs to do to dry a pepper is run a string through it and patiently wait until it is dry. Easy.
Another wonderful way to preserve peppers is to pickle them. I have two methods: a balsamic vinegar, which is better for sweet peppers, and a lacto-fermented that works best with hot peppers.
Pickled Hot Peppers
• 1 sterile canning jar and lid
• hot peppers, washed
• Brine to cover: 2T salt to each cup of non-chlorinated water
1. Stuff the peppers into the jar as tightly as you can without breaking them.
2. Cover with the brine.
3. Put the lid on the jar firmly (but not too tight).
4. Leave on a counter for 2 -3 days, until you see bubbles in the brine.
5. Move to the refrigerator. These will keep in the fridge for a year.
I do not recommend open jar or crock fermentation for these peppers because peppers float and they are hard to weight down below the brine level without breaking the flesh of the pepper.
Depending on the variety of pepper you use, these can get searingly hot. Because they are brined, they can be cut up and added to a variety of recipes to add heat without competing with the flavor palette of the recipe. You can also pull the stems and seeds and stuff them with cheese. Very tasty.
Pickled Sweet Peppers
• 10 lbs. sweet peppers, roasted , skinned, and seeded
• 10 cloves of garlic, peeled
• 2 C balsamic vinegar
• ½ C sugar
• ½ C olive oil
• 2 t salt
• 10 basil leaves, washed
1. Cut the peppers into strips.
2. Cut the garlic cloves in half.
3. Mix the balsamic, sugar, olive oil and salt until the salt and sugar dissolve.
4. Layer the peppers, garlic and basil leaves in a sterile jar.
5. Cover with the vinegar mixture.
6. Press to remove any air pockets. Place the lid on the jar and put it in the refrigerator. Leave for four weeks before eating. These will keep in the fridge for a year.
These are a great addition to any sandwich. Especially delicious on a grilled portabello, or a cheese steak.