In order to capture more dollars from the discount-savvy shopper the Loblaws grocery stores that we shop at have started making “not so fresh” produce available at 50% of the original price. This has become less of a great deal than when it first strated because they have begun packaging in larger quantities that usually include at least a couple specimens that I wouldn’t buy individually. Also, certain items just aren’t practical in large quantities because we don’t use them often enough to keep a big bagful in the fridge.
Jalapenos are a great example. Half-off is great but what is one to do with a bag of twenty jalapenos when most recipes call for one or maybe two? Simple: Make pickles.
I’ve done this before with jalapenos and my only complaint was that they lost their bright green colour and faded to a dull brownish olive green. I thought I might be able to counter this by quickly boiling (3 minutes) the peppers before they went into the jar. At first it looked liked I had struck gold but after a night in the fridge (and more to the point the vinegar brine) they had faded considerably.
Many recipes call for leaving the peppers whole but I don’t want to bother with the mess of cutting them and remembering not to touch my eyes every time I want to quickly garnish some leftover soup or add some spice to a grilled cheese sandwich so I sliced them before the brine went on.
The brine extras were a teaspoon or so of coriander seeds, a whole clove of garlic, a tablespoon of sugar and a few allspice berries. Kind of random and may not be noticeable with the stronger jalapeno flavour.
This is a quick pickle that is not meant for long storage but will last a couple of weeks (at least–I’ll push it longer but don’t eat anything that looks or smells past due) in the fridge.
Pickling is also a good way to take advantage of on-sale or in-season red peppers that can be had for a small fraction of their 3.99/lb winter price. I roast a big batch of these in August or September and then “put-up” the peeled slices for later enjoyment.
- 10 jalapenos, washed
- 1 TB pickling spices or improvised blend
- 2 TB white sugar
- 1 – 2 cups white vinegar
- Immerse jalapenos in strongly boiling water for three minutes. Remove from water and allow to cool slightly on counter. When they have cool enough to be manageable slice about a cm thick.
- Put spices in the bottom of a 500 ml Mason jar. Pack jalapenos slices into jar. Bring vinegar to a boil and pour enough over slices to cover.
- Allow to cool on the counter for a couple of hours. As the jalapenos slices settle the vinegar may need to be topped up in order to keep them covered.