Are you a hot pepper fanatic or can you do without? Me, I love hot foods. Hot peppers? Bring ’em!! The hotter the better.
While I love hot peppers, I am not fond of concentrated hot pepper resins. Sure, they are searingly hot, but there is *so* much more to hot peppers than simple pucker-your-lips-up-and-weep-like-a-baby heat.
Although, as you can see from this video, for some folks, it’s the heat. And – just maybe – the teeniest hint of masochism, or possibly, exhibitionism. . . https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mb-QVfwCmYg
But there’s more than pain to hot peppers. Much more. There’s flavor, rich, deep and intense. And, even better, there’s aroma, smoky, fruity, and complex.
Me, I prefer to get my heat the old fashioned way – from a real hot pepper, not from a laboratory attempting to cash in on the current hot pepper craze by weaponizing our condiments.
In August, I packed fresh, ultra-hot, beautiful Naga Jolokia peppers (Ghost Peppers) with a fragrant blend of fresh bay, peppercorn, juniper berry, lemon zest, whole coriander, allspice berry, yellow mustard seed and whole cinnamon. Sea salt and cider vinegar finished off the mix.
Last night, with our son, daughter in law and grandson in attendance, I opened one of the jars of hot peppers and found – these (see bottom of post!).
I took one of these beautiful peppers and sliced it into a very thin julienne which I strewed liberally over a toasted bagel with lox and goat cheese.
I apologize in advance for not having an image of this bagel to show you, because it was beautiful. Also – delicious!! And I was so hungry I forgot my food blogger mandate to take pictures!!
This recipe is for what is called a “refrigerator pickle”. They will *not* keep unrefrigerated, but, in your refrigerator, you’ll be enjoying them for at least six months and perhaps a bit more. Their bright, clean colors and awe inspiring heat play beautifully with the rich infusion of aromas and flavors from the pickling spices.
Give this recipe a whirl – really! You can use any hot pepper you like. You can cut the peppers into rings, or strips or just – my preference – leave them whole. If you like variety, you can do all those things!
Quick Pickled Hot Peppers (Refrigerator Peppers)
Makes 1 quart of pickled hot peppers – you can use two pint jars or a single quart jar.
- 12 oz. hot peppers, your choice. I say “approximately” because peppers vary in shape and size, which determines how many you can stuff into your canning jar. By “stuff” I mean cram as many as possible in there without crushing the peppers – you really do want to pack them in. Arranging them so they fit neatly and can pack better is always a good thing to do.
- 2 C. water
- 2 C. vinegar (plain white vinegar or apple cider is the best)
- 2 tsp. coriander seed, 4 bay leaves (fresh if possible), 1 tsp. yellow mustard seed, 2 tsp. juniper berries, 1 tsp. allspice berries, 1/2 tsp. black peppercorns, lightly crushed
- Lemon zest from 1 organic lemon. Use a vegetable peeler to remove wide (around 1/2″+) pieces of zest. When you pour the liquid into the jars, try to get roughly similar amounts of the zest (and other spices) in each jar!
- 2 T. fine sea salt
Rinse the peppers thoroughly and trim them. If they have stems, snip off all but 1/2″ or so of the stem, then make a couple of long vertical slits in each pepper, one on each side. This helps the pickling liquid get to the whole pepper.
Clean your jars. Wash with soap and hot water, rinse with plenty of hot water, (wash and rinse lids and seals, too). Leave jars and lids upside down on a clean tea cloth.
Put all the ingredients (except the peppers) in a small, non-reactive (stainless steel or enamelware) cooking pot and bring to a boil. Simmer for five minutes.
Stuff the peppers into the jar(s). Stuff those little buggers. Pack some of the larger peppers on top, as possible, to help stuff down the others.
Pour the simmered brine mixture carefully over the peppers in your jars. There will be bubbling. The brine will slowly, over a couple of minutes, settle in level as it enters inside the peppers, at which point, add a little more brine until the jar is filled with approximately 1/2″ free space.
Cap and seal the jars and let them sit, undisturbed, at room temperature in a dark place for 24-36 hours.
At this point, you can put the jars into the fridge. In another 4-5 days, they will be ready for consumption and will last in the fridge for up to six months. Enjoy!!