Pickling Your Fall Harvest
I feel like the more I age, the more country like my Mama I get. Although I was born in Los Angeles and she was born in the mountains of Virginia, I have definitely picked up on some of her Southern habits, which includes pickling.
During the fall I reaped a pretty nice harvest not excluding the Jamaican Scotch Bonnet Peppers that were overflowing on several of the bushes we have outside.
The problem with reaping upwards of 50 scotch bonnets, is that it is hard to use them within a short period of time - I mean, just a tiny slither of one pepper can spice up a 5 quart stew beyond belief (and I like spicy stuff!). So I decided to try pickling half of them and freezing the other half.
How I Did It:
Combining my mom's folksy methods of pickling with some more conventional knowledge on pickling I found online, I was able to find a way to pickle from start to finish, and it was pretty easy.
1. Depending on your preference slice the peppers thinly or in halves. If I had to do it all over again I would of done halves. Also be sure to wear protective gear when cutting (like some latex gloves) to avoid irritating your skin. Also try to remove the seeds as best you can. A good paring knife can help you, I generally cored out the top including the seeds to speed up the cutting process.
2. Next boil some vinegar (any kind will do, I used regular white vinegar), salt (be more liberal with this than you are used to) and sugar/honey (also be liberal with this). You can add some water but I realized when I added too much water the pickling juice was kind of lacking. So don't be afraid to sweeten and salt it up!
3. Afterwards pour the boiled vinegar into a jar of sliced peppers, sliced onions (one medium will do) and some crushed cloves of garlic. Fill it so it completely covers the peppers, onions, and garlic.
4. Cap the pickling jar and boil it in some water completely submerged (you will need a big pot). Wait until the jar is pressure sealed (the suction cap sucks in at the top).
Tips And Tricks:
- To avoid corroding the metal, I put some wax paper on the top of the jar before I sealed it
- Use a jar lifter to avoid the dangerousness of pulling out a hot glass jar from boiling water!
- Use some sort of separator between the glass jar and the bottom of the boiling pot (like a drying wrack or something)
- Flavor your pickle juice accordingly; I found mine was a little watery before adding it, so use less water and more salt and sugar/honey
- Refrigerate once opened