Thursday, February 18, 2016

Pickled Peppers

Well, I hardly got a peck off my red pepper bush (which is 2 gallons, by the way), and they weren't completely red, but the narrow Gypsy variety I was growing was a good size for making pickles.

Which reminds me, a little interesting bit of pepper trivia.  All peppers start out green.  The red, orange, or any other color you find have been allowed to ripen; that's why they're sweeter.  Green peppers are definitely edible, just not fully ripe; and that's why they're cheaper.  Picking peppers as soon as they're full size is a time saver to a farmer.  Why spend the extra time waiting for them to turn colors when you can pick them and encourage the plant to produce more?

I got out my Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving and based this on the Mixed Vegetable Pickles.  It's just a basic 2-day pickling recipe with a pre-soak for saltiness instead of salting a quick brine.  Since these were going on a salad in the next few days, I didn't process the batch.  There's nothing wrong with making a single jar as "refrigerator pickles" if you're not putting up for the year.

2 large bell peppers (don't have to be the same color)
2 C water
2 Tb pickling or kosher salt
3/4 C distilled vinegar
1 Tb sugar
*1 tsp dried mustard seed
1/2 tsp celery seed

1.  On day one, seed the peppers and cut into 1/2" strips.  My peppers were narrow enough to do rounds, but the average store pepper should be done in strips.  In a 1-quart container, stir together water and salt to dissolve.  Place peppers in water, seal, and shake a bit to distribute brine.  Soak in a cool place for 12-18 hours.

2.  On day two, pour out pepper mix into a colander and let it drip out while you prepare the container and vinegar.  First, wash a one-pint container with lid and set aside.

3.  In a small saucepan, heat vinegar, sugar, mustard seed, and celery seed until sugar dissolves.  Bring to a low boil and allow to cook for 2 to 3 minutes, so the seeds can start to hydrate.

4.  Place peppers in the container, then cover with the vinegar.  If there is not enough liquid to cover, add water.  We're not processing this, so the acid ratio and sterilizing of liquid isn't 100% necessary.  Seal container and refrigerate for at least 24 hours before using.  Keeps up to 2 weeks in the fridge.

Makes about 1 pint

Difficulty rating  :)

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