Pucker Up: Perfectly Pickled Banana Peppers 

Last weekend, North Carolina got pummeled with a ton of rain. The farmers market got rained out, there was no going and playing outside, and the only thing left to do was pickle everything in the refrigerator.

My fiancé’s mom came to visit from Michigan, and she brought with her a whole slew of pale yellow banana peppers that she had just picked from her garden. (And potatoes, and a 16″ zucchini, tomatoes, and gorgeous onions.) As soon as my honey saw those peppers, he said “let’s pickle them.” Any fervency in the vegetable direction gets no argument from me. So, they were saved…despite my wanting to immediately devour at least half.
With pickled lots and lots of things in the past. From cucumbers it to beets to carrots and celery, we’ve always come up with a new recipe for each. But the last time we pickled jalapeños, the recipe was nearly perfect. We decided to make a few tweaks this time, and the result was flawless.

For this recipe, you’ll need:

  • Five 6″ or larger banana peppers cleaned, seeded, and cut in rings 
  • One cup white vinegar
  • One cup water
  • 3 tablespoons kosher or pickling salt
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • Any or all of the ingredients from the optional list below

Optional:

  • Bay leaf
  • Few garlic cloves
  • Peppercorns
  • Hot peppers prepped the same way as the banana peppers (we added two jalapeños for a bit of kick, but one nice Datil pepper would be awesome, too)

Method:

Prep the peppers if you haven’t already.

  
  

Place the vinegar, water, salt, sugar, and any spices you choose to use in a non-reactive saucepan. I use my trusty old nonstick. Bring to a boil over high heat.
  

Once the mixture comes to a boil, add the peppers, put the lid on, and set a timer for 12 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat source. I just move mine to another burner.

  

Make sure you have a mason jar or other clean vessel for when the timer  dings. A heat-safe glass jar is my favorite.

Once the timer dings, carefully transfer the peppers to a jar with tongs and then very carefully pour the liquid over the top. I like to strain mine to avoid any seeds, but you don’t have to.  NOTE: Feel free to let them cool as long as you’d like so you’re comfortable handling them. Remember, though, you want to cool them as quickly as possible to avoid then becoming mushy. 

  

Screw on the lid and place the lidded jar in an ice bath. 

 

Place the jar in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours. I think the crunch really sets in by that point. Enjoy these banana pepper rings on sandwiches, salads, with cheese and crackers, on chili, or straight out of the jar. Although they will last for a very long time, mine won’t live out this week. 

Happy crunching and munching,

Jenna 🙂

Pickled Organic Heirloom Tomatoes

My tomato season is nearing its end in sunny coastal Florida, and I’m finding myself with lots of little tomatoes that just won’t have a chance to ripen. I’m not sad, though, because this Jewish girl knows exactly what to do. Pickled tomatoes with garlic and dill was a staple in my grandparents’ refrigerator as well as in every kosher delicatessen from here to Timbuktu. For me, it’s the no-brainer way to preserve my beautiful heirlooms that had to be plucked before their time.

For this recipe, I used a combination of Thai Pink Egg, Healani, and Chadwick Cherry tomatoes, but you could use whatever variety or varieties you like.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 pound organic green tomatoes, washed and cut into halves or quarters
  • 1 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 4 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 5  garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons dried dill (use fresh if you have it on hand)
  • 1/2 tablespoon whole black or multi-colored peppercorns

Method:

Make sure to have a spotlessly clean lid and jar. I love to use my mason jars for this, but any good jar will do.

Place the tomatoes in the jar leaving about 1/2 of room at the top.

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Put the garlic, dill, and peppercorns in the jar.

Make the brine. Combine vinegar, water, and salt in a non-reactive pot. Bring the contents to a boil and stir until all the salt is dissolved.

Carefully pour the hot brine over the tomatoes being sure to leave room at the top. Wipe the top, put on the lid on and tighten.

Some recipes say to wait just a day or two before the pickled goodies will be ready for eating, but I disagree. I think they need between two and three weeks to achieve pickled perfection. And, of course, I think they’ll taste better if you serve them from a little metal bowl with tongs. It’s the kosher deli way.

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Happy noshing, everyone,

Jenna

NOTE: This recipe was partially adapted from a Huffington Post article. I consulted with my pickle-loving family for the adjustments.