Wednesday, August 15, 2012

If All Else Fails: Make Pickled Jalapeño Peppers

It's very weird, but last year just about this time, I was complaining about how awful the garden had been. This year, ditto. Heat, drought, and what little rain we get is monsoon-like, running off the parched ground like water runs off a rain slicker. Just like last year, it was again a slim year for tomatoes, and most of the other vegetables. Enough for the table, and maybe a couple of extra meals worth to freeze, be there will be no big can-a-thons, except for jalapeño peppers. The damn plants are loaded. Later in the summer, I'll see what I can whomp up that's fancy enough to be a gift jar, but in the meantime, it's going to be pickled jalapeño slices. Just like last year. 

So, if all else in the garden fails, make pickled jalapeno peppers. These are Hades-hot peppers, thanks to the heat and drought, and would actually make a great gift for any hot pepper lover. The leftover pickled pepper juice in the jar is a goldmine of flavor, too, so use it up in dressings, as a sauce or add a few fresh things to it (cukes or radishes??) to make a quick, fresh hot pepper. This recipe is similar to one I showed you last year, with a few adjustments. Enjoy!

Pickled Jalapeño Peppers--
a taste of Summer for all year long!
Pickled Jalapeños with Garlic
Makes 4 pints

2 pounds fresh Jalapeño peppers, mix red & green if possible
8 large garlic cloves, slivered
5 teaspoons of pickling salt
4 tablespoons sugar
5 cups white distilled vinegar
1 cup water

  1. Wash 4 pint canning jars, with new lids and bands. Bring a water-bath canning kettle full of water to cover the jars by 1" to 2" to a simmer. Sterilize the jars and lids per the instructions from your canner.
  2. Cut the peppers into 1/4" inch slices, and mix in a bowl. Discard the stems. Be careful handling peppers; try to use tools, or put plastic bags over your hands to avoid contact with the hot stuff.
  3. Put the garlic, salt, sugar vinegar and water into a large saucepan, and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 3 minutes or so.
  4. Tightly pack the peppers into the jars, but try not to crush them too much.
  5. Ladle in the vinegar mixture into each jar, filling to just under 1/4" from the top, carefully scooping in some of the garlic.
  6. Wipe the rims with a damp, clean paper towel, and place the lids and bands on, sealing just hand tightening.
  7. Place in the water bath canner, and bring to a boil, covered, and process for 15 minutes.
  8. Remove the jars to a rack or a folded kitchen towel and do not disturb until completely cooled. Mark your jars with the date and contents, and try not to open for a few weeks. They should keep for a year or so, if you don't find lots of ways to scarf them down sooner.

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