One of these days I’m going to write a cookbook including “Hall of Fame” recipes from my column. When I think of all the recipes shared across our community of readers and the interest generated by them, I know that food shared with family and friends is not only nurturing but makes memories and traditions. That’s why every year I get requests for Nell Wilson’s pickled peppers. Nell, a Mason reader, is Ron Wilson, our garden guru’s, Mom, and her pickled peppers are the best. I’ve adapted the recipe over the years but the original premise comes from Nell. Peppers are in season so by making your own, you are saving lots of money plus you know exactly what’s in them.
Nell Wilson’s famous hot pickled peppers
I make this with a mixture of mostly hot peppers. I usually don’t add 2 cups sugar; if I use any at all, I’ll start out with half a cup, taste the brine, and go from there. You’ll get enough brine for 5-6 pints or about 3 quarts peppers.
2 pounds or so, prepared as directed below
Brine: bring to a boil and lower to a simmer for 5 minutes/
6 cups clear or cider vinegar, 5% acidity
2 cups water
Sugar to taste: up to 2 cups
Salt: up to 2 tablespoons if you want
1 garlic clove for each jar
1 bay leaf for each jar
1 grape leaf for each jar (supposed to make them extra crunchy)
Bring brine to a boil. Let simmer 5 minutes or so.
Use rubber gloves. Leave whole with a slit down the center if you like, or slice. Place peppers in hot jars, packing tightly. Pour simmering brine over, covering peppers. Add optional ingredients. Wipe rims with clean wet cloth. Put lids an seals on. Professionally, I’ll tell you to process pints 10 minutes or quarts 15 minutes in a boiling water bath after sealing. (Check out my blog for directions). That is the recommended safe method for canning. I don’t process mine, but I sterilize the jars and lids and keep them in boiling water until they’re filled. I have never had a problem but again, the recommended way to preserve these is in a boiling water bath.
Jars will seal on their own – you’ll hear little “pings” as the seal completes. Any that don’t seal just put in frig. Chill in refrigerator before serving.
Tip from Rita’s kitchen:
- The membrane that the seeds are attached to is the hottest part of the pepper.
- The lids are a 2-parter: a flat seal and a ring. The rings are reusable; the seals are not.
- See Rita make these: video for pickling peppers on abouteating.com
- Peppers are good for your eyes and heart, among other things.