Pickling perfect peppers in not too many easy steps
on November 27, 2009
Pickling perfect peppers isn’t all that hard, and (as our colleagues over at Mission Local noted in a recent article) canning is an inexpensive way to produce charming, memorable homemade holiday gifts. Besides being cheap to make, this not-too-spicy Escabeche, with its deep green and red hues, is an especially appropriate seasonal treat. I’ve been making this pickle (based loosely on a recipe from Linda Ziedrich’s excellent book The Joy of Pickling) for three years now and giving it out to friends and family as a Christmas gift. To make about 12 pints of this pickle—a jalapeno, serrano, cascabella, radish, shallot, carrot, and spices mix—I spent about $30 on new jars and all the produce (I had the dry spices on my rack already).
Things you might want to know before making this pickle as shown here: I used about three pounds of peppers, and filled in a little over a pound of the carrots, radishes, and shallots. I eyeballed the dry spices—I tend to try to find a balance between mostly peppercorns (about a teaspoon per pint? Enough to fit in your palm when it’s all crinked up, about an inch in diameter and an inch high) with half as many cloves and a few allspice berries. A bit of lime skin helps keep the pickle firm but I don’t think it’s necessary for this pickle. The vinegar/water proportion is 1:1, with about two teaspoons Kosher salt per cup of liquid. Store your jars in a cool, dark place—sun will ruin the color.
If you want to give them as gifts, I suggest investing in a bit of pretty fabric and twine to adorn the caps of the jars. If you like, tie a “suggested uses” card to the top. Any of the vegetables within go well with eggs, as a relish for meat, and I especially like adding them to a sharp goat cheese like Humbolt Fog.
This pickle takes a full month to ferment, so time’s running out if you want to give these as gifts in 2009. Happy pickling, North Oakland.
Relevant pickling links:
Oakland North is an online news service produced by students at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and covering Oakland, California. Our goals are to improve local coverage, innovate with digital media, and listen to you–about the issues that concern you and the reporting you’d like to see in your community. Please send news tips to: email@example.com.