What’s the difference between a fresh jalapeno and a pickled one? Pickling diminishes the heat in jalapenos and softens the texture, allowing you to chop them up and top on just about everything.
How does pickling really affect the flavor? You can put your white coat on and read this blog post about osmosis and displacement, but in general foods that are pickled are going to take on some change in flavor. That’s the enjoyment you (or at least I) get out of pickling foods: opening up a jar to find an unexpected taste.
Why bother pickling them if it changes the flavor? Because my garden is producing more jalapenos than I know what to do with. About 20 to 30 a week need to be picked from their plants, which means I have been feverishly canning and preserving these hot green peppers by pickling them in different ways. This was the first method I ever learned for pickling and uses a simple brine of vinegar, water, salt and pickling spices. Since then, I’ve made beer pickled jalapenos and a jalapeno relish, both just as easy but with different end results.
I’ve shared more information about the pickling process, including information on which vinegars to use in my beer pickled jalapeno recipe, so I won’t reiterate it here, but generally you can substitute white vinegar for any vinegar you prefer.
My preferred pickling spices are: whole black peppercorns, whole allspice and corriander seeds. You can get fancy with star anise, cloves and red pepper flakes, or even whole cloves of garlic if you want. All of these additions change the flavor slightly. I think it is a little fun how you can make such a difference with just a few spices.
What’s unique about this recipe is that I do not use any sugar. If you want your pickled jalapenos to be a little sweet, then go for it, but it is not essential to the recipe. Since I’m a savory over sweet person, I omit sugar from my pickling recipes.
Do you have more than 20 jalapenos? No problem! This brine makes a little more than you need for 2 pints, but remember that you can pack the jalapenos into the jars since the brine liquid will fill in any small gaps you have. Don’t be afraid to shove them in there!
Makes 2 Pints
- 20 jalapenos
- 2 cups white vinegar
- 2 cups water
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
- 2 teaspoons whole allspice
- 2 teaspoons coriander seed
Begin by putting on a pair of gloves to cut the jalapeno peppers with. Slice the tops off of the peppers and discard. Slice the peppers into 1/4 inch thick rounds, leaving the seeds intact. Repeat for all 20 peppers.
In a small saucepan, heat the white vinegar and kosher salt over medium high heat until salt dissolves. Simmer over low heat.
If you are NOT canning: Mix all of the spices together and evenly distribute amongst your jars. Stuff the sliced jalapeno peppers into the jars, then pour the brine on top, leaving a 1/2 inch headspace. Secure with lids and place in the refrigerator at least overnight before serving, allowing time for the spices, vinegar and beer to permeate the jalapeno peppers.
If you ARE canning: Bring a large stock pot of water with a canning rack to boil over high heat. Once boiling, place the jars into the water and let boil for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat a small pot of water to simmer and place the lids and rims into it, simmering for 5 minutes.
Remove the jars, lids and rims. Evenly distribute the pickling spices into each jar, then stuff with jalapenos. Pour the brine on top, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Wipe the rims of the jars dry along with the lids and rims. Place the lids on top and secure the rims only until fingertip tight.
Place the jars back in the large boiling pot of water and let boil for 10 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool. Store in a dark, dry place until serving.