Peppers seem to take forever to appear: like dreaming of strawberries in March, I start thinking of peppers when the first hot day comes around in June; then I wait, and wait and wait. My pepper plants were started way back in February. I’ve been harvesting jalapenos for a while now, but the red chile peppers are only just turning red, and the red bell peppers are still smaller than a tennis ball and dark green. All I can say is that all that growing time explains how such a little vegetable can pack such a complex and wow! flavor.
Bell peppers, banana peppers, chile peppers, green, red, lilac, orange, chocolate, hot, sweet; I’ve never met a pepper I didn’t like. So, when the all-too-short pepper peak comes around, usually late summer here in the Northeast, I can’t resist buying way more than I can eat fresh. I usually chop & freeze several Ziplocs full, dry some chiles in the dehydrator, and pickle some for local-food feasts over the winter. I put up the above jars last Fall, so it is time to enjoy them and make a new batch with this year’s delicious, spicy, crisp peppers.
Adapted from Pickled Banana Peppers in Homegrown: Pure & Simple by Michel Nischan
Pickled Banana Peppers
Per Quart Jar
- about 6 banana peppers, well scrubbed
- 1 or 2 small chile peppers, well scrubbed
- 1 fennel head or 1 scant teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 cup filtered water
- 1 cup honey
- 1 cup cider vinegar
- 1 and 1/2 tsp coarse salt
- 1 tsp tumeric (optional)
- Prepare canner, jars and lids.
- Toast the cinnamon sticks lightly by holding over an open flame with tongs, or shaking in a hot, dry frying pan for 2 to 3 minutes, until slightly darkened and fragrant. Remove from heat.
- Cut a long slit in each pepper from stem to tip (this allows the brine to enter the inside of the peppers). Remove the stems, and if you prefer milder peppers, scrape out the seeds (or some portion of the seeds).
- In a large stockpot, combine honey, water, vinegar, salt and optional tumeric and bring to a full boil over high heat.
- Into hot, sterilized quart jars, add 1 cinnamon stick, fennel, and prepared peppers, leaving about 1-inch headspace. Do not pack the peppers so tightly that brine cannot move easily between and inside the vegetables. Ladle hot brine over the peppers to cover by 1/2-inch, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Wipe rim, afix lid and screwband, and place in the canner. Repeat the process until you have run out of peppers.
- Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Cool, label and store.
- I’m not sure what the tumeric adds to this recipe, other than a cloudy yellow brine. Tumeric is mostly known for it’s bright yellow color but is essentially tasteless. Tumeric may help to prevent discoloration of the peppers in storage, however, it just tends to collect in a cloud at the bottom of the jar. I think next time I make these I will either cut the tumeric down to 1/2 tsp per quart jar or omit it entirely.
- Other small, crisp varieties of pepper would work well here; I made an entire quart of pickled chile peppers last year. Jalapenos are particularly good pickled. Bell peppers are too sweet and not crisp enough, to last well pickled in storage.
Canned, in a cool, dark spot for up to 1 year. Refrigerated for up to 6 weeks.