At the beginning of last fall, the jalapeño plants in my garden went into overdrive, and I found myself with a whole bunch of peppers all at one time. Now, I love jalapeños. I put slices of them, seeds and all, on sandwiches, tacos, burritos, and burgers all summer long. I love the heat and the crunch that the fresh green peppers provide. But there was no way my family and I could eat this many peppers before they went bad, so I started looking into ways to preserve them.
I’ve never much cared for the pickled jalapeños you can buy in stores; they taste like they look: drab and limp. So I didn’t have much hope that I’d really enjoy jalapeños that I’d pickled myself, but I was willing to give it a try rather than let my harvest go to waste. I’m so glad I did! They turned out crisp, spicy, and delicious, and my family enjoyed them until about mid-winter when they ran out.
I didn’t post the recipe then, reasoning that most people weren’t coming into a crop of jalapeños in October. I decided to wait until my next jalapeño harvest, and in anticipation of that, I planted about three times as many jalapeño plants than usual, knowing that I could pickle any surplus. The first harvest came in this week, and after setting aside a few to use fresh, I quick-pickled the others. (A little red Cajun Belle pepper ripened at the same time, so I threw it in for color.)
The most time-consuming part of this recipe is the slicing of the peppers. I’ve learned my lesson and now use disposable gloves that I bought in a Korean grocery store to handle the jalapeños. I’ve also learned to take them off right after handling the peppers because eyes don’t care whether you touch them with jalapeño-covered fingers or gloves. Either way, it’s going to burn! So chop the peppers, use your gloved hands to fill the jars, and then throw the gloves away. [/public service announcement]
My recipe differs only slightly from others you can find on the internet. Mainly, I add some dried red pepper flakes to keep the peppers spicy because pickling can sap some of the spiciness out of jalapeños. Also, I don’t use sugar because I don’t think it’s needed, but if you want your peppers to be a little less vinegary, feel free to add a couple of teaspoons. Finally, I like the flavor that garlic adds to jalapeños, so I use a little more than most people and I slice them to allow more of the flavor to come out. I also like to eat the pieces of garlic, so this way there’s more of them.
Ridiculously Easy Jalapeño Pickles
- 8 ounces jalapeño peppers approximate (number will depend on size of peppers)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup white wine vinegar or more cider vinegar
- 2 cloves garlic sliced in half lengthwise
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes optional
- Prepare jars and lids by cleaning them well in hot water. One recipe will fill 2 8-ounce jars or 1 16-20 ounce jar, approximately.
- Wearing protective gloves, slice the peppers about 1/4-inch thick; discard the stem ends. Pack the pepper rings into jars.
- Place remaining ingredients into a non-reactive saucepan and heat until it comes to a full boil.
- Pour the vinegar mixture over the peppers until it covers them, and arrange the garlic slices on top. Seal the jars and allow them to come down to room temperature before refrigerating. You can use them immediately, but the flavor will mellow a little if you let them rest for a couple of days.
- Jalapeno pickles should keep in the refrigerator for several weeks. Discard if any signs of mold appear.