I frequently have a jar of pickled ‘Banana Peppers’ in my fridge for all sorts of purposes including making sandwiches, nachos (especially), and other things where a little fillip of tangy spice is needed. These are available commercially in my local store all the time, and they are pretty decent, but I like making my own stuff and have long wanted to stop buying the store bought variety. Unfortunately, the type of peppers I want are hard to come by and any substitutions I might use (Jalapeño, or Anaheim, for example) are generally only available in green, which. I find, turn an unattractive greyish color after they have been pickling for a while.
Anyway, I hit upon the idea of using tiny red and orange bell peppers (which have become increasingly common of late), and adding smaller, very hot chillies to the pickling mix to provide the right ‘bite’…
- 1lb small red, orange, or yellow Bell Peppers (or a mix thereof);
- 5 cups White Vinegar;
- 1 Tbsp. Sugar (or more to taste);
- 2 Tbsp. Black Peppercorns;
- 1 Tbsp. each of Coriander and Fennel Seeds;
- Fresh Red Hot Chillies (type and amount to suit your taste;
- Pickling, or other Non-iodized Salt.
You first need to prepare your peppers by trimming them to remove the stems and ‘innards’, along with the tip at the other end (so as to get a ‘flow’ of the pickling medium throughout). You can, if you like, just slice off the stem end, but I like to use the slightly more ‘fiddly’ approach of carving around the stem and extracting the seeds and some of the pith through the opening.
Now, sprinkle your salt over the peppers, getting a little inside. You don’t need a lot, about 1 Tbsp. sufficed for this small batch. Let the peppers sit for a bit before proceeding.
Here are the hot chillies I am using. They are Thai chillies and quite fiery. You can chop them, if you like, or do as I have done and just cut away the tops.
Now, add your dry spices to a pan over moderately high heat and toast them until you can smell their aroma.
Add the sugar, hot chillies and sugar. Bring to a boil for a minute or so then remove the pan from the heat and let the contents cool.
Finally, put your peppers in a suitable container and pour over the pickling mix. You will want to let this pickle for about 30 days or so and then store in the refrigerator after opening.