Whilst the alliterative tongue twister ‘Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers’ was a childhood favourite, I’ve never actually eaten a pickled pepper let alone a peck, which is around two gallons in the British imperial system (roughly 7.5 litres). But my vegetable garden currently has an abundance of beautiful cherry peppers so I thought I’d try making some of my own. The pickling liquid is much the same as for my pickled cucumbers but this time I left out the garlic and added some dried chillis instead. I like my peppers with a bit of a kick!
2kg cherry peppers, but you could use any peppers (see my second batch below) 500ml white wine vinegar 500ml water 1tbsp pink peppercorns 3tbsp white or brown sugar 2tbsp coriander seeds 2tbsp salt Dried chillis Bay leaves
First prepare your peppers. The exact method will depend on the type of pepper you are using but essentially you want to take out the stem and seeds to leave the peppers hollow. It’s a pretty messy business! Afterwards you will need to wash the peppers to remove the wayward seeds and shake out the excess water. Then drizzle with oil and place in a hot oven for 10 minutes. You just want to soften the peppers so they absorb the pickling flavours rather than cooking them through. When you take your peppers out of the oven put them in a colander to drain off any water – there will be more than you think!
Next, pop your storage jars in the oven for ten minutes or so to sterilise. Wash them first with hot soapy water and stand on a tray. Boil the lids in a pan of water for about the same time.
Prepare the pickling liquid by adding the vinegar and water to a pan with the salt and sugar. Bring to a gentle boil so that the sugar dissolves then remove from the heat and add the spices. Leave to stand to 15 minutes to allow the liquid to cool a little and the flavours to infuse.
Once the jars are cool enough to handle you can add the peppers and then pour in the pickling liquid. Make sure that you press the peppers down to remove any air, topping the jar up with extra liquid if needed. Screw the lid tightly. It’s best to do all of this whilst everything is as hot as possible (without risking burns) to have the best possible chance of preventing any bacteria from entering the jar and also of creating a vacuum.
Once the jars have cooled down place them in a cool, dark place. They should be good for at least a year.
I also pickled a different type of pepper using exactly the same method. So whilst I may not have a peck of pickled peppers I definitely have enough to be getting on with!