Alternative title: you should wear gloves when you make pickled peppers
Every year, I pickle peppers. Actually, I pickle peppers several times each summer. And EVERY SINGLE TIME, I only remember that I should put gloves on when I am about half way through the pepper cutting process. Which means that every single time I pickle peppers, I inadvertently touch my eye, my lips, my nose, my kids... Every single time I pickle peppers, I try to grit my teeth through the inevitable HOURS that my hands are burning with the heat of the Bono Pizza oven. I wash them, I rub them in yogurt, I take advil, and then I stick my hands in just about anything because I am blinded in at least one eye and I can hardly move my lips to ask questions. Not one bit of this is an exaggeration. You can confirm this with all of my accidental victims.
So. The moral of this story is do not forget to wear gloves. Do not think you are smarter, tougher, stronger than me. Do not do that.
Oh, and DO pickle those peppers.
What peppers are you pickling? You could do just plain old green jalapenos or all yellow banana peppers but you really shouldn't. Instead, pick all of the ripe spicy peppers in your garden (let them get some color on them; green is so boring and the flavor is not nearly as interesting) AND then you will need to buy all of the spicy peppers at your favorite farmers' market booths (buy a few (dozen) of all of the types in all of the colors) AND then you should find some of your dried chile arbol peppers or dried thai red chili peppers from last year (or the Mexican grocery store). You should do this because the more varieties, the merrier this jar of peppers will be!
You want crisp, fresh peppers - no limp noodles. When I include dried peppers, it is just 2-3 little ones per pint jar for extra spice.
If you have ignored everything I have said so far and insist on pickling only green jalapenos, at least try this: blister and peel the skins off of your peppers first.
Okay. Here we go:
- Sterilize your jars.
- Measure the following into each pint jar:
- 3 cloves of garlic, sliced (I suppose you could use less if you are a vampire)
- 1/2 tsp mustard seed
- 1 tsp Black peppercorns
- In a saucepan, bring the following brine to a boil. For each pint jar:
- 1 cup vinegar (white or cider)
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 tsp coarse salt (Kosher works)
- Put on gloves.
- Cut your peppers. Leave your gloves on. Mix those peppers up. Do not touch your eye. Shove the peppers into the jars. Take the gloves off. Do not touch the peppers.
- Pour the hot brine into your jars leaving at least 1/2" of headspace. Wipe the rim of your jars before screwing on the lid and the ring.
- Put the jars in a pot of boiling water. Keep them covered with at least 1 inch of water. Boil them for 10 minutes.
- Remove the jars from the water and let the cool overnight on the counter. Check the seal (Push down on the lid. If the lid doesn't pop back, the jars are shelf stable. If it does, put the jar in the refrigerator.)
- Once you open a jar, keep it in the refrigerator.
The peppers are as spicy as you want them to be - if you want less spicy, use banana peppers and a few sweeter varieties and don't use all of the seeds. If you want more, use banana peppers, Joe's long cayennes, red jalapenos, serranos, and keep most of the seeds in the jar.
Note to all bad-asses: DO NOT USE bhut jolokia even if you do not like the intended recipient of your jar. Do. Not. Use. It.
These peppers are wonderful on sandwiches, pizzas, brats, straight out of the jar, and the juice is great in cocktails.