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How To Pickle Hot Peppers
3 min

How To Pickle Hot Peppers

3 min

Discover how to preserve chili peppers with pickling here. With step-by-step instructions and some top tips, we've everything you need to start your chili pickling journey!

If you just had a bumper harvest of spicy chili peppers, you may be wondering what to do with them all. Eating them is impossible in the short term, and drying them all out seems too boring. So what can you do?

Pickling hot peppers is a fantastic way to preserve them for the future and fill your pantry with a delicious snack. Find out how here.

Why pickle hot peppers?

Why Pickle Hot Peppers?

There are two reasons to pickle hot peppers: to preserve them, and to create something delicious in its own right!

Pickling first came about as a method of indefinitely preserving foods. Vinegar, being highly acidic, is an inhospitable environment to most things that would like to feast on your beloved hot peppers. Over time, it’s moved from a simple science of preservation to a culinary art.

Pickling chili peppers need not be all about keeping them for the years to come—you could, after all, just dry them—but a way of creating a delicious, spicy, and tart ingredient.

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How to pickle hot peppers

How To Pickle Hot Peppers

The best part is that pickling hot peppers needn’t be difficult. In fact, it’s possible that you already have everything you need to hand. And if you don’t, a quick trip to any supermarket should have you ready in no time.

The only real choice comes in when it comes to the chili peppers themselves. Do you buy some from the shop and make do? Or do you set out to cultivate them yourself, seeing them through from seed to pickle jar? The choice is yours.

Equipment

  • Jars: for storing pickled peppers
  • Gloves: to avoid chili burn
  • A large pot: for preparing pickling solution
  • Tongs
  • Knife

Ingredients

  • 1l white distilled vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 800g hot peppers
  • 500ml water
  • 25g sugar
  • 25g salt
  • 2 tbsp. mustard seeds

What is the best vinegar for pickling hot peppers?

The vinegar, besides the chili peppers themselves, is going to provide a large proportion of the overall flavour of your pickled peppers. Therefore, it’s important not to skimp here. If you can, it’s best to spend a little more and go for a high-quality distilled white vinegar or apple cider vinegar.

As well as complementing chilies the best, these types of light vinegars will best preserve the radiant colour of your pickled peppers. This is even more essential if you’ve gone to the effort of growing them yourself!

Add pickling spices of choice

Add Pickling Spices Of Choice

Our ingredients list can be taken as a general base for pickling peppers, but by no means feel constricted by it.

All manner of herbs and spices can take your preserved chilies from storage solution to culinary delight. Almost anything you can think of can be thrown in there to spice it up, but here are a few ideas:

  • Cardamom pods
  • Cloves
  • Cinnamon
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Mustard seeds
  • Dill seeds
  • Peppercorns

Pickling process precautions

Pickling Process Precautions

There are a couple of things to be aware of when it comes to pickling peppers.

First, when handling any large amount of hot chili peppers, it’s best practice to wear a pair of gloves. It may seem like overkill, but hot chilies can burn your skin when you handle them a lot. And while you’ve still got your gloves on, don’t touch your eyes!

In terms of selecting your chili peppers, the fresher the better. Bruised or rotting peppers will taint the whole jar, and could continue to go off. Fresh, crunchy peppers, on the other hand, will retain their freshness and crispness, remaining delicious indefinitely.

You can basically use any type of pepper—such as jalapeño, habanero, cayenne, and so on. Whichever you choose, wash them thoroughly and dry their skins well. All you want in them is pepper juice!

How to prepare the jars and lids

Cleanliness is key! Thoroughly wash the jars and lids, and ensure they’re well dried before you add anything to them.

Directly boiling them can damage the sealing compound, but you can bring some water to a boil, let it cool a little, and then wash them in this. Otherwise, hot, soapy water should suffice.

Directions

1. Either cut your chilies to the desired size or, if you want to leave them whole, prick them several times with a fork to allow the vinegar liquid to penetrate them. Then place them into your sterilised jars.

Cut Your Chillies

2. Put the water, vinegar, salt, sugar and the mustard seeds into a large saucepan and bring to a brief boil.

Put The Water, Vinegar, Salt, Sugar And The Mustard Seeds Into A Large Saucepan

3.Whilst still hot, pour this concoction into the jars with your chilies, screw the lid on and turn the jars upside down. Before sealing, make sure that all the chilies are completely covered by the liquid. Anything that sticks out might start to rot.

Pour This Concoction Into The Jars With Your Chillies

Saying exactly how long your pickled hot peppers will last is difficult. However, if pickled and stored well, they can last a very long time indeed!

Pickling hot peppers: It’s as easy as that

Now you’ve got your very own pickled chili peppers.

These are incredibly versatile things. If they’re not too hot, you can eat them on their own, enjoying their refreshing and spicy crunch. Otherwise, add them to sandwiches, burgers, nachos… the list goes on!

Anything you can think of—try it. Happy pickling!

Max Sargent
Max Sargent
Max has been writing for over a decade, and has come into cannabis and psychedelic journalism in the last few years. Writing for companies such as Zamnesia, Royal Queen Seeds, Cannaconnection, Gorilla Seeds, MushMagic and more, he has experience in a broad spectrum of the industry.
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