What do you do when you have a VERY successful chilli growing year and you find yourself with loads of Jalapeno chillis ready and dozens more following on behind? Well if you have a husband who happens to like adding Jalapenos to chilli con carne, fajitas, tacos and pizzas (to name but a few) which means you go through several jars of shop bought sliced Jalapenos every year, then the sensible thing would be to try and make your own pickled sliced Jalapenos.
And that’s exactly what I have done this morning.
In previous years I’ve grown and pickled a variety of chillis with varying levels of success, dependent on the type of chilli used and have always pickled whole chillies which have been mixed in terms of both variety and colour and which has led to a bright and cheerful display in my one and only Kilner jar (need to get a new seal for when the curry chillis are ready for pickling). So pickling sliced Jalapenos was a new experience for me.
I had previously used the pickled chillis recipe from River Cottage but unfortunately THAT page no longer exists and I hadn’t actually written the recipe down (as it wasn’t mine) and so that recipe is lost to me forever and so I am going to record the recipe for this years Jalapenos here, with my tweaks included. I googled several recipes and finally settled on using this one from Cooked.com as a base but with a few minor adjustments to suit our tastes.
So for this particular attempt at pickling Jalapenos I have used:
- 254g sliced fresh, just off the plant Jalapenos
- 500ml White Wine Vinegar
- 100g Caster Sugar
- a pinch of salt
- 12 Szechuan Peppercorns
- 3 Bay Leaves
- 1tsp Yellow Mustard Seeds
- 1 large clove of Garlic, crushed and finely chopped.
I washed the chillis before slicing them into rings approximately 3mm wide. I opted to leave the seeds in my chillis because Mud often complains that the shop bought jars are so mild they almost have no heat at all and I know from making sweet chilli dipping sauce that leaving the seeds in makes for a much spicier end product.
I then put the vinegar, sugar and salt into a heavy bottomed saucepan and heated the mixture gently until the sugar and salt had dissolved. The peppercorns, bay leaves and mustard seeds were then added to the pan and the whole mix was left to simmer for just over 10 minutes.
Whilst the vinegar was simmering I peeled, crushed and finely chopped one large clove of garlic and then split it between the two large and one small jars I had just sterilised, before adding the Jalapeno slices to a level of about 1.5cm below the top of each jar.
Once the vinegar was ready, I removed the bay leaves as I didn’t feel these would work as well with sliced Chillis and poured the mix, including the peppercorns and mustard seeds into a jug to make it easier to pour into the jars. Each jar was then filled to about 1cm below the top, making sure to cover all the Jalapenos. I tapped each jar to release any air bubbles and then screwed the lids on. The pressure seal will activate as the mixture cools. Obviously the fresh chillis contain air themselves and as such were initially floating in the vinegar mixture with about 1cm of ‘space’ below them but as the vinegar ‘cooked’ the skins and forced the air out, the slices began to sink to the bottom of the jar and now the gap at the bottom of the jar has all but disappeared.
Of course the proof of the pudding will be in the eating but that won’t be for another 4 weeks by which time a second and possibly third batch of pickling will have been done and until then all I can do is cross my fingers and hope for the best. As for the pickled chilli slices, they’ll keep unopened in the cupboard for up to a year but will need to be kept in the fridge once opened.