December 11th, 2011

Pickled peppers

I’ve never done this before. The only other pickling that I’ve done was some zucchini pickle with Kate, one batch of which was great, one batch which tasted strange and musty. But I’m pretty confident these pickled peppers will work.

I had the idea to do this after grilling some small peppers the other day with great results. I couldn’t find any small red peppers at the market, but opted for some young looking capsicums instead.

I started by slicing the capsicums and grilling skin side down until quite black.

Once they were black, I placed them in a bowl with a plate over the top to steam the skins off. I cooked them on a very high heat so that the skins would blacken, but they would retain a lot of texture. I find blackening peppers in the oven tends to make them very soft, these still had a nice bite to them.

Once they were cool, I peeled off the skins. Normally I would just stop here: add some salt, maybe a little garlic, some olive oil and eat. But we’re making pickles here… still a lot to do…

I made a brine using a ratio of about 1:3 water to apple cider vinegar. I hope this is acidic enough. I’ve read loads of recipes that use anything from all vinegar to a 1:1 ratio. I also added a few tablespoons of salt, sugar, mustard seeds, some strips of lemon zest, and a large number of lightly crushed garlic cloves. I like garlicky pickles. I boiled the brine for a minute or two to dissolve the sugar and salt.

I think a mistake we might have made last time was not sterilising the jars properly. I endeavoured to do it right this time: boiled for 10 minutes, then dried in a low oven.

So: while the jars and brine were still nice and hot, I tightly packed the jars with pickles and poured over the brine. I did this in layers to help distribute the garlic and lemon zest through the jars, using a knife to remove any air bubbles. I then sealed them lightly (finger tight) and “processed” them, which means boiling the jars again for about 10 minutes so that the air could escape from under the lids.

As they cooled, the pop top lids sealed nicely. Success! (maybe). The trouble with pickles is you really don’t know how they’ll turn out until you open them up, weeks later.

At least they look pretty. Fingers crossed!


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