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Uncommon Foods

Pickled Jalepeños: Preserving the Flavors of Warmer Days

As fall comes rapidly to a close – and with it the generous weekly allotment of fresh vegetables from CSA – the next question is, how can I preserve and ration fresh veggies to last all winter? Humans and animals alike have been grappling with this issue as long as winters have been bitter and cold. After all, we cannot all have the luxury of hibernating until spring. A few weeks back I found myself overcome with peppers of all kinds, and I made these stovetop pickled jalepeños to last throughout winter. The perfect condiment to warm from the inside out.

I took my inspiration from this recipe. If you want to pack a jar full of pure, dangerously spicy jalepeños, by all means do so. However, I like combining other textures and flavors; diced onions, carrots sliced with a deli-style fluted edge, and a handful of whole, peeled garlic cloves. Green beans are also a great addition. Slice all of your chosen veggies into a heavy bottomed saucepan. I should warn you, nearly all the force of these peppers comes from the seeds. You can control the heat of your pickles by discarding all or most of the seeds. Personally, I like my pickle mixture extra spicy.

Pour white vinegar – our pickling agent – over the vegetables, add a small amount of honey and salt,  and toss in whole peppercorns and a bay leaf for extra flavor. Simmer the mixture until the bright green peppers have turned what the recipe appropriately calls olive green.

This happens relatively quickly, so watch carefully! Allow the mixture to cool, off heat. Transfer to the ultimate all-purpose storing vessel, a large glass mason jar. Reserve enough liquid to cover the softened vegetables completely; otherwise they will dry out. Store (almost) indefinitely in the refrigerator, preferably in an accessible spot for quick additions to stews, sandwiches, omelets, cornbread, and so much more. Happy pickling!

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