pickled chiles

Pickling Peppers: 7 Commandments

In Chile Peppers, Gardening, Stories by Mark MaskerLeave a Comment

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pickled chiles

Photo by Jeff Gerlach

This is my first year growing peppers in something larger than a Topsy-Turvy. I thought I was prepared for the harvest I hoped to reap.

I was wrong. Way, way wrong.

The temperate climate and abundant sun where I live give me multiple harvests during a growing season. With 16 plants across four species, I have hundreds of peppers coming in. Pickling them is a terrific way to preserve them. Here are 7 basic rules you want to know for pickling your own.

  1. Sterilize jars and lids in a boiling water bath for 10 to15 minutes. We generally bring a large pot to a boil with an inch or two of water, along with a folded dish towel on the bottom of the pot. Jars are then placed, mouth down, into the water, along with the lids which can just be set between the jars. We then turn down the heat just enough to keep the pot slowly boiling or simmering.
  2. Use pickling salt, rather than table salt which contains undesirable (for pickling) additives. Pickling salt is free of the additives that turn
    pickles dark and the pickling liquid cloudy.
  3. While cider vinegar is more flavorful, 5 to 6 percent distilled white vinegar should be used to avoid discoloring the chiles. Note that we do use cider vinegar when discoloration is not a problem.
  4. Do not boil the vinegar for a long period of time as that will reduce the acidity.
  5. Poke or cut a hole in each chile to keep it from floating and also to allow the pickling solution to work into the entire chile.
  6. After filling each jar, remove any trapped air with a spatula or knife blade inserted between the chiles and the wall of the jar, or by gently tapping the jar.
  7. After processing in a boiling water bath, remove jars to a draft-free location and allow to cool for 12 hours before handling.

If you want more in-depth info on pickling, plus a grip of recipes for it, check this out.

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Managing Editor | Mark is a freelance journalist based out of Los Angeles. He’s our Do-It-Yourself specialist, and happily agrees to try pretty much every twisted project we come up with.