Sunday, September 09, 2007

AEB Classics #47: Pickled Hot Peppers, or How to pickle a peck of freshly picked peppers

chop suey? fig. a: three bushels of tomatoes from Jean-Talon

The days around Labour Day are pretty much the peak of our canning season. They're the days when our Tomato Canning Division in particular is in overdrive, producing the next year's supply of tomato sauce. Of course, those of you who've been reading us for a while know all about this, but we can't emphasize it enough: homemade tomato sauce made with summer's ripest tomatoes and a healthy does of the freshest local hardneck garlic is always something to behold. In Montreal, come January-February, it's an absolute godsend. Forget about your flu shots and your supplements and all that other malarkey, homemade tomato sauce is all you really need.

This year our Jean-Talon tomatoes came in chop suey boxes (?), but with days and days of straight sunshine leading up to the time we bought them, they were among the sweetest we'd gotten from the market over the last few years. Obviously this means that they result in a better tasting sauce, but it also means that they're easier to process, which is always a good thing. Not that it would have mattered much this year because a) we were very eager the produce our 2007 batch and b), just as we were about to roll up our sleeves to start cranking our trusty, rusty spremipomodori velocissima (hence the newsprint-covered table you see in the photo below), our doorbell rang and we received a care package

aussie care package fig. b: mysterious Australian care package

(?) all the way from Australia (?!?) that really gave us a lift. [More on the contents of this fantastic parcel from Down Under later. TY, Z.!]

Anyway, in addition to canning tomatoes, we've also been taking advantage of Jean-Talon Market's absurd variety of peppers to do a little pepper pickling this year. You can use any one of a number of peppers (from sweet to hot) for this recipe, but the classics are cherry peppers and Hungarian banana peppers (I'm particularly fond of the latter, both yellow and red).

pickled peppers fig. c: pickled Hungarian banana peppers

Here's the method we followed:

Pickled Peppers

1 1/2 lbs banana peppers or cherry peppers
3 cups white vinegar
1 cup water
3 cloves garlic, crushed
6 scallions, white parts only, cut into 1 1/2 - 2" lengths

Wash the peppers. If you're using cherry peppers, leave them whole; if you're using banana peppers, chop them in half. Pierce the peppers 2-3 times with a fork.

Combine the vinegar, water, and garlic in a large stainless steel saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Can as you would normally (you can find some basic instructions here), using either the dry or wet method, packing each jar full of peppers/pepper pieces and making sure to add a few pieces of the scallions too, then adding the hot pickling liquid + garlic pieces.

Yield: about 4 x 500 ml jars

[adapted from the Bernardin Guide to Home Preserving]



Anonymous said...

Sounds wonderful! I really enjoy reading this site. It has provided me with a wealth of ideas. I'm looking forward to my first jelly/preserve-making foray in more than 30 years and was wondering if anyone can give me a heads-up as to where one can get supplies (jelly bags, etc.) in Montreal? email me at There are 6 pounds of elderberries and 2 pounds of crab apples awaiting your replies. Thank you.

aj kinik said...

Hi there,
Michelle recommends Arthur Quentin on St. Denis and Les Touilleurs on Laurier for jelly bags. Quincaillerie Dante on Dante probably has jelly bags too, and they definitely have all the jars, wide-mouthed funnels, and other supplies you could possibly need/want. Addresses and phone numbers can be found in our AEB Montreal Food Guide/A-Z on our sidebar.

cheers and happy canning

Kyla said...

So I've been canning as well and I'm just about to start in on tomatoes. Tell me: when you say tomatoes with garlic do you mean that you are cooking them together or just canning the tomatoes skinned and whole with peeled garlic. I'm totally uncertain about how to proceed with tomatoes.

aj kinik said...

Hi Kyla,
You'll find a description of our standard tomato-canning process here:

We always just go ahead and make tomato sauce with lots of garlic (capitalizing on the amazing hardneck garlic that's available at this time of year) and herbs.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

a year later, but i have a question -- how long til these peppers are ready to eat? 3 weeks like dill pickles, or...?

thanks, pickle gurus.

aj kinik said...

Better late than never, MK.

A: Immediately, but you'll find that they mellow out nicely if you give them a little time.