The Best Food Season of the Year and Hot Peppers: Pickling and Drying
We can assert, without much doubt, that late August through early September is the best time of the year for fresh fruit and vegetables here in the United States. Backyard gardens, local markets and farms (including ones participating in CSAs), and even large, chain, supermarkets, for example, carry and sell their best produce of the year during the late summer.
In our part of the country we’re enjoying exquisite tomatoes, eggplant, various lettuce (including arugula), zucchini and zucchini blossoms, chard, various hot peppers, etc. And the sad truth is that we have too much of the aforementioned produce and are always looking for ways to preserve, consume, or giveaway the season’s best items!
On the preserving part, you’ve read our pickled mushrooms, pickled eggplant, canned tomatoes, and sun dried tomatoes in olive oil recipes and now, thanks to our occasional contributor Dr. K. we can add pickled and dried hot peppers to the list.
Dried Hot Peppers
Place the hot peppers on a food dehydrator tray (ensuring the larger ones are cut). You can do them whole if they’re small, though Dr. cuts them in half just to speed things up a little. You can leave the seeds in (for extra heat) or remove them. Dry around 135 degrees till they’re dried and hardened. Store in an airtight container, use whole or crack them in a spice grinder or food processor.
For the hot pepper pickles, Dr. K used a recipe found on Davidlebovitz.com’s excellent site and adapted from Ruhlman and Symon. We’ve included a slightly modified version of the recipe below:
- 3 tablespoons Kosher salt
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons whole coriander seeds
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled
- 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
- 1 pound of fresh jalapeno peppers, washed (you can use other hot peppers, as well, so feel free to experiment)
- 2½ cups of water
- 2½ cups of white distilled vinegar
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- Pickled Jalapeños
- Adapted from Michael Symon’s Live to Cook by Michael Symon and Michael Ruhlman and DavidLebovitz.com
- Puncture each pepper with a sharp knife (1x-2x is fine) and place in a large glass jar.
- Bring the rest of the ingredients to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for five-ten minutes.
- Pour the brine over the peppers (after removing from the heat) and place the lid on the jar. Once the container reaches room temperature, refrigerate for 7-10 days before consuming. All three writers, say the wait is worth it!
- You can use this method on many hot / chile peppers, including japeños. The peppers keep about 7-10 days.