Handmade Holiday Gifting, Part 2: Quick-Pickled Jalapeño Slices
Hello! I’m back with Part 2 of my Handmade Holiday Gifting series.
You may recall that our garden produced a hot pepper windfall. A particular banner year for jalapeños. We both love spicy foods and I regularly cook with all sorts of hot chillies, so we were, and continue to be, delighted.
Personally I would’ve been more delighted had the banana and purple bell pepper plants done equally as well (or better) than the jalapeños. My husband on the other hand is most pleased the bounty skewed in their favor. So this got me to thinking about ways to use them up before rotting set in, and how to do go about it in a way both he and I would enjoy…
Quick-Pickled Jalapeño Slices.
They’re a new favorite way to dial up the heat!
What’s so great about them?
One of the most widely available chilli peppers on the market, jalapeños are low in calories, fat and sodium, and high in health-promoting nutrients. The smooth green (or red, depending on how long they stay on the vine) peppers are very rich sources of vitamin C, and also contain vitamins A, B6, and K, folate, fiber and potassium, which can help improve your immune system and healing ability, promote eye, heart and digestive health, and fight off harmful free radicals. Capsaicin, a bio-active compound and the ingredient that gives chilli peppers their “heat,” stimulates release of endorphins to naturally fight stress and pain. Some research even indicates that (high amounts of) capsaicin may help curb appetite and slightly boost metabolism.
Because this is not a canning recipe, there’s no putzing with gadgets or that most terrifying of kitchen tools, the pressure cooker. All you need for a small batch is one 1-quart or two 1-pint jars, 10-12 sliced jalapeños, a garlic clove, yellow mustard seeds, and the basic requirements for pickling: vinegar, water, salt and a touch of sugar. A brief boil, and that’s it! They are “quick pickles,” after all.
For the faint of heat, slice the peppers lengthwise to remove the ribs and seeds, and then let the jar sit longer before opening to really give them a chance to mellow. Increasing the amount of sugar is another option (but then, of course, you’re adding more sugar). I’ve also heard that running the slices under cold water tame some of the heat, but have never tested the theory myself.
As one might expect, pickled jalapeños pair well with all manner of Hispanic and Latin fare from tacos and fajitas, to plates of slow-cooked pork, beef or chicken, to guacamole and salsa. Okay, okay… and nachos, which are interestingly Mexican in origin but made for Americans. (Just promise me you’ll forgo the neon orange glop, and class it up with fresh cheese. Queso fresco or feta, maybe?) They’re also great on burgers, swirled into yogurt or hummus dips, added to posole or bean chilli, tossed into the Whirley Pop while popping corn (great tip from my husband), or as a surprising addition to an icy margarita, Bloody Mary, martini or beertail.
We just love these little guys, and think a jar or two would be an awesome handmade gift.
Tell me… Are you a chilli-head, or do you prefer your foods tame? Put up any produce this year?
- 5 medium to large green jalapeños, stemmed and sliced into thin rounds
- 1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
- 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 garlic clove, smashed
- 1 bunch fresh dill blossoms, roughly chopped (optional)
- Pack jalapeño slices tightly in a clean 1-quart glass jar (or 2, 1-pint jars) leaving about 1-inch of head room at the top.
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, toast mustard seeds until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes, then add the remaining ingredients. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar and salt.
- Remove immediately from the heat once boiling. Carefully pour the mixture into your jar(s), making sure the jalapeños are completely submerged. Do not overfill; remember to leave at least 1/2-inch of head room. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature on the counter. Tightly seal, turn upside-down, and refrigerate at least 6 hours or up to 1 week. Keep in the refrigerator until ready to eat or gift. These quick pickled jalapeños will be good for about 1 month, refrigerated.
For the faint of heat, there are several options: 1) Make lengthwise slices of the peppers, removing the ribs and seeds before pickling; 2) Rinse the pepper rings or lengthwise slices under water for a minute to calm the heat (never tried this personally, but heard it works); or 3) Add 2 Tbsp sugar instead of 1 Tbsp.
+ Use a variety of milder peppers, such as the jalapeños, anaheim, banana/wax, cascabel, cherry, hatch, shisito or poblano. Do a mixture, or stick with all of one type.
+ Kick it up a notch with hotter chillies, like serrano, Thai bird, fresno, cayenne, habañero, or the infamous ghost chillies. Definitely wear those gloves with these!
+ No dill blossoms? Try stuffing in a few sprigs of the fresh dill itself, or of oregano, thyme, marjoram...
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