Marinated Green Bell Peppers

Yes, you read that correctly: marinated green bell peppers. Because you know what comes before red bell peppers? Green bell peppers. All peppers start out green: it takes time (and sunshine, love, devotion and a near-pathological desire to fend off every bug in creation) for the peppers to turn red. A lot of time. Like we are lucky if we see local red bell peppers before September. The one (1!) I managed to grow two years ago was still out on the deck, struggling to turn red, in mid-October. Add to that the fact that red peppers are, well, red. Meaning that as soon as that first, long-awaited red blush appears on your lovingly tended pepper plant, every bug within a 20-mile radius perks up his (or her; sexism sucks, even in the insect kingdom) antennae and makes a beeline (ha!) for your precious pepper. This is part of the reason that red bell peppers are one of the dirty dozen (it takes a lot of chemical warfare to dissuade every bug in the ‘hood) and why organic red bells are so expensive (a local farmer told me that you need to plant about 6 times as many as you want to yield).

All of that is a round-about way of saying: I would love to make the traditional marinated red bell pepper recipe. But what I have now, in August, is a boatload of green bell peppers. My CSA farmer, Betsey Ryder of Ryder Farm in Brewster, NY, grows a lot of peppers: green bells, Cubanelles, a deep purple bell (which, sadly, turns a ‘normal’ green color when cooked). So we get lots of them in our CSA, and since last year was a very sunny, productive year on the farm, I still  have chopped green bells in the chest freezer. I definitely needed a new way to preserve them, preferably something that would not take up freezer space. Enter marinated peppers!

I very slightly adapted Shae’s recipe, from last year’s October Can Jam (are you remembering to check the Can Jam archives for inspiration this year? I’ve been back time and time again.) adding just a touch of honey as green bells are not as sweeet as red bells, and cutting the recipe in half as I’m not really sure how these will turn out. Of course, the same basic recipe will work for any color of bell pepper, or a combination. For added inspiration, check out Julia’s marinated pepper recipe, also from the October Can Jam; the reason I chose Shae’s recipe was that it had a bit more acid and a bit less olive oil (and I must admit, that much oil in water bath canning freaks me out a bit). But I trust both sources: Julia’s recipe is from the Queen of Canning herself, Linda Ziedrich, and Shae’s is from Eugenia Bone, and confirmed safe by the USDA’s Cooperative Extension folks at UC Davis, so I’m sure that the recipes are safe. But, with green peppers at least: will it taste good? I have no idea. My jars need to sit on the shelf, marinating and maturing, for a few weeks to find out. I’ll report back when I’ve cracked a jar and tried them out.

Adapted (barely) from Pimientos Rojos by Shae at Hitchhiking to Heaven

————————————————————

Marinated Bell Peppers

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 lbs bell peppers (green, purple, red, yellow: we don’t discriminate here at Local Kitchen)
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice (I used bottled; check out Linda Zeidrich’s essay on the acidity of fresh lemon juice, and use either)
  • 1 cup white wine vinegar (5% acidity)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp slivered white onion
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 3/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 3 bay leaves

METHODS

  1. Prepare canner, jars and lids.
  2. Char the peppers and slip off the skins. This never works for me: it is an endless exercise in frustration. I’ve been told to broil the hell out of ‘em; to let them steam in a paper bag; to steam them for 30 minutes in a covered bowl; to let them steam as long as possible; to peel under running water; and I’m sure several other things that haven’t worked. I’ll leave you to your own devices. But I won’t judge if you decide you just want to leave the *&^% skins on. I think that’s where I’m going in the future.
  3. Combine lemon juice, vinegar, olive oil, onion, honey, paprika, salt, thyme, and pepper in a medium saucepan. Bring to a low boil and reduce heat to a simmer.
  4. Fill a hot jar with your (pathetic, mangled, bits-of-skin-stubbornly-clinging-to) peeled peppers, leaving a generous 3/4-inch headspace. Add a bay leaf to each jar. Cover vegetables with hot marinade; remove air bubbles and push peppers below the marinade level to a generous 1/2-inch headspace (peppers will expand some on processing, so it is important to leave a good amount of headspace). Wipe rim, affix lid and add to your simmering canner. Repeat with remaining peppers. Process for 15 minutes in a boiling water bath.

Yields about 3 half-pints.

OPTIONS

  1. I have to admit, the worst part of this recipe is the peeling of the peppers. I had a little leftover brine, so I chopped a few Cubanelles, dropped them in a jar, and covered them, unpeeled & raw, with boiling brine. Stuck in the fridge to marinate. I’ll report back on taste/texture, vs the charred & peeled peppers, once I try them both. Because if I could get around peeling peppers: hallelujah!

STORE

Canned, store in a cool, dark spot for up to 1 year.

SEASON

Summer into early Fall.

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28 comments

  1. Smitty

    Broiling! I used to char peppers on the stovetop and it sucked. little bits of skin everywhere. Then I moved into a place with an electric stove, so I had to use the broiler. I’ve now had a gas stove for eight years but I’ve never gone back to stovetop.

    When I’m serious about roasting peppers (last year I could get organic reds from my CSA for $1 per pound; I bought ten pounds and it was soooo not enough), I cut off the bumpy top and bottoms, and cut the middles into flat pieces. Lay the flat pieces on a sheet pan and put them under a broiler until they are 100% black. For some reason, the skin stays in one piece. It’s SO easy to peel them. The skin sometimes even separates from the pepper. I do put them aside to steam, but it’s probably not even necessary.

    The bumpy tops and bottoms are set aside because they don’t roast as well as a flat piece. These I chop up and freeze, skin-on.

    I freeze my roasted red peppers. yum.

      • Debbie

        We do them on our gas grill. Just put them on whole and use the entire pepper (except for the stem and seeds — which come of very easily when they are roasted).

  2. Jen

    I have found that if I pick a pepper just when it starts to blush a bit, it will finish ripening and turn red in the house – safe from all the pests (except my cats).

    • Monica

      I do this too – I dig through the bins at our CSA for ones with any bit of red on them. As long as you don’t put them in the fridge they will turn. Though I have had some turn soft and explode juice all over the place. My mom has had a few worms as well. But mostly pretty successful.

  3. Kelly T.

    I loved your colorful recipe instructions. They seriously made me laugh. That’s why I think I must try this. I hope I have more success with the skins! Best wishes to you too!

    • Thanks, Anne!! I buy round 2 and 1/2-inch lables (Avery #5294, which you can find at Staples or on Amazon), download a free template from avery.com and then just play about with text. These ones are very simple and just require some futzing of the font sizes to make everything fit. There is a detailed tutorial for some of my more involved labels here: http://localkitchenblog.com/2010/10/14/labels-a-tutorial/ That post also includes lots of links to other sites with great label ideas and resources.

      Hope that helps,
      Kaela

  4. Patricia

    I make pickled peppers using a recipe that my mother used for years. I never peel them or cook them. Just core and seed, cut into bite-size pieces, and can with vinegar, water, salt and garlic. Delicious! My whole family loves them and they are so easy to make.

  5. I never skin any peppers. I cut them as desired, lay them in a dishpan or plastic bowl, and pour boiling water over them. Make sure they aren’t crowded. Let stand 5 mins, drain. Proceed with your recipe. This makes the skins tender enough to eat! And it’s less mess, less fuss, and most important to me…less time consuming.

  6. I learned in a class on Saturday to wrap them with a paper towel and stick them into a plastic bag. As in a shopping plastic bag. You can use the paper towel to skin them and put the trash into the bag. My question is, what do you use them with? Trying to think of ideas for this. I am going to one of my favorite orchards either Friday or Saturday and want to pick up some peppers for drying. But I could pick some up to try this too.

    • Dianna

      Knit, you could use slices on a grilled steak sandwich….very yummy! I also use them in my hot sauce. I roast jalapenos, 2 or 3 fresh tomatoes, and garlic, then whirl them along with a bunch of cilantro, a can of tomato sauce, salt and cumin to taste, half of a medium onion, and jar of the canned red peppers. If the jalapenos are a little too hot, I add a little more tomato sauce or more fresh tomatoes (if they are in season…or use a pint of canned tomatoes). You could also use some in your spaghetti sauce (whirl them up first). I’m sure you could think of a lot of other recipes to use them in once you have tasted them.

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  8. novitaslady

    I made these today. I don’t know about the ones that will come out of the jars, but I had a little left over marinade and put it on some leftover peppers. Tasty!

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  10. Kaela, I just found this! I was in the bush in August — what can I say? Have you popped a top yet? I’m super curious about how they turned out. I didn’t make any red ones this year; they were fairly time intensive (the peeling!) and we ate them up in a moment, it seemed. I couldn’t quite face the work again. Your version sure looks tempting.

  11. Kelli l.

    I haven’t previously canned with oil, so the oil float on the top of the jars is making me nervous. I have about half an inch on top of each jar.

  12. Life’s too short to peel a pepper! Seriously, WHY?? I think there are lots of nutritions in the skin and why must everything be like babyfood nowadays? Great chefs are alway son about “texture” in food and how roughage is good for you – so why peel?!

  13. Patricia A

    wondering what the ultimate taste test was on this??? Sounds luscious – and – I’m making it tomorrow, unless you tell me it was a ‘flop’ :)

  14. Erin

    I know this is wayyy after the initial post, but… what do we do with the bay leaves??? I might be going crazy, but I can’t seem to find the bay leaves in the instructions.

  15. I freeze and can vast numbers of chiles and peppers every year. Some packed in brine with olive oil. I choose the least nubby, smoothest peppers, rub them in a tiny bit of flavorless oil and then roast over the burners of my gas stove if cooking indoors. If not we use a wood burning oven cranked high and place them on cookie sheets, turning as needed. Then cover in something to allow them to steam finish. Charred skins nearly shed off. Works great. In a pinch, you even deep or pan fry whole pepper til they look toasted on outside and then steam to slip skins.

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