Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Pickled Banana Peppers

I was a total Daddy's girl growing up. As a child, I was by his side at job sites (he owned his own plumbing business), in his workshop, working on his boat and in the kitchen. One of my dad's many passions was home-cooked meals. I lived in one of rare those homes where the dad did most of the cooking and we did not eat out often. My dad had spicy taste though. In his book, everything tasted better with hot sauce on it or peppers in it; eggs, collards, spinach, chicken, peanuts and more. One of my favorite flavors was the taste of pickled banana peppers on salads or burritos. But my all time favorite was the spicy vinegar juice from the pickled banana peppers jar on my collards and spinach. It transformed my greens from being tolerable to being downright irresistible.

One of the thorns in my side these days is my inability to grow a garden where we currently live. So once the farmers markets open up, I'm like a kid in a candy shop stocking up on my cherished organic veggies for a much better price than I would normally find in a grocery store. I don't do much canning since the cost of investing in enough jars to make it economically efficient is a little impractical for us, and some vegetables don't freeze the best (tried that last year). But the one food I do can no matter what now is homemade pickled banana peppers. I'm able to pick them up for a dime a piece at a local organic farmer, and along with some cayenne peppers, it's a quick, cheap and priceless flavor for me and my family since it's not easy to find a duplicate in the grocery store. Here's how you make it:

Pickled Banana Peppers

Pickled Banana Peppers
Banana Peppers, seeded and sliced
Cayenne Peppers, seeded and sliced
Canning Jar

Seed and slice peppers into rings. I recommend wearing gloves so you don't accidentally rub and burn your eyes (especially if you have contacts - I know from a very painful experience). Sanitize canning jars and lids with boiling water. Place sliced peppers into canning jar. Push peppers down to make room for more. Leave about 1-2 inches of space at the top.

Pour a ratio of 1/3 cup vinegar to 1 cup of water into pot on stove top. Bring liquids to a boil. Pour into canning jar until it covers the peppers. Tighten lid down and place in refrigerator to ferment. It takes about 1-3 weeks to get to the ideal flavor. Shelf life depends on your refrigerator temps, but I usually get 3-4 weeks minimum out of a jar once I open it. Use your own discretion on shelf-life.