This is Denise’s husband Rick. I may be better known to some of you as the travel blogger of Day Tripping with Rick who sometimes guests on this blog. I always thought myself a decent cook until I met my wife. Now I’m relegated to the grill/smoker or other manly-men meat-burning device. I leave the heavy lifting to her, and rightly so. She is an excellent cook to which many of you can attest.
But every once in a while, I have my moments. Such a day is today. I’m going to talk to you about cold pickled jalapeno peppers. I generally will do this a couple of times in the summer when my pepper plants are neglected after a week at the beach and I’m stuck with 100 or so fully mature chiles. Unless you are actually operating a Mexican restaurant, you will never use 100 chilies before they shrivel up. So I’m going to show you what you can do with them.
Like me, I’m guessing you might have questions so we’ll handle them up front.
Q- What is cold pickling and why would I do this instead of full-bore sterile pickling?
A- Sterile pickling is for the truly hard core. You have to have a big freaking pot to put your canning jars and lids into so you can sterilize them before you can. Your quality assurance policy has to be better than Dow Chemical. After all, when you’re done, the stuff you put up has to last through the Zombie Apocalypse. Your stuff will be the stuff that the radioactive cockroaches, which are the only survivors will be eating.
Cold pickling is easy. Everything you make goes into the fridge and stays there until you eat it. So you tend to eat them pretty quick. The whole process takes about 20 minutes
Q- So, why wouldn’t I just go down to the Dollar General and buy a jar of pickled jalapenos for a buck?
A- Unlike the stuff you get at the store which is picked old, mechanically sliced, cooked to within an inch of edibility, and packed off from parts unknown, you are doing all this yourself. The cold-pickled stuff will be crisper, fresher, better tasting and you’ll be the envy of every Super Bowl party when you pull out a jar of these for your Super Nachos. And you will impress your friends when you give them a jar.
Q- How many peppers do I need?
A- How many pepper do you have? I’ll give you a basic recipe that I use and you just increase or decrease it to fit the number. Today we’ll put up about 3 pints, which is about 40 peppers. I like jalapenos or serrano peppers. Actually a mixture of the two which is bright red and bright green makes a nice gift. For this recipe, they are interchangeable.
Preparing the Pickled Jalapeño Peppers
I like to slice them about 1/8-1/16th inch thick rings. At the end of the day, you have rings, seeds and hats.
Put the seeds in with the rings. The hats I just pitch.
The Cold Pickle Recipe
This is pretty standard stuff and you probably have everything in your kitchen somewhere.
3 cups of water
3 cups of white vinegar
3/4 cup of white sugar
1/4 cup of salt
4 cloves of garlic – crushed
2 teaspoons of oregano
1 teaspoon of coriander seeds
Throw everything into a spaghetti pot and bring to a boil.
Throw in the pepper rings (and seeds, no hats) and turn off the heat. Stir occasionally for about 10 minutes. Then spoon the pepper rings into 16-oz mason jars with a straining spoon until they are about 7/8-ths full. Then pour in the pickling liquid until you’re about 1/2-in from the top of the jar. Put on the lid and voila, you got pickled pepper rings.
The cold pickle work with all kinds of vegetables. I love to grow bush beans and I tend to get overrun this time of year. I will separate out the straightest ones and pickle them. They make great stirrers for bloody marys.