Refrigerator Pickled Peppers

It's only the second day of summer, but--between talking to fellow gardeners and my own observations--I can already tell you this is going to be a banner year for peppers in our neck of the woods.  Typically, the cucumbers are the first real summer vegetable to come on, followed by tomatoes and squash.  It's only when it gets nasty hot in July and August that the peppers start to go crazy.  Only, this year, the peppers came first.

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I don't want to ruminate on what that means for July and August and the heat index.  For now, I'm just enjoying the peppers.

I like them pickled.  And because canning peppers tends to make them softer than I prefer, I typically just make 'fridge pickled peppers.  You can play much more fast and loose with the recipe when you don't have to worry about botulism so much, yes?  

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This year I've already discovered a secret ingredient.  Are you ready for it?

Lemons!

I pack a canning jar or two with sliced peppers (a mix of wax and jalapeno, if I'm remembering what I planted correctly) and the zest and juice of one lemon.  Then I make a brine that goes a little something like this:

  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 good palmful of pickling spice

I heat the brine on the stove until it's boiling, and then pour it over the peppers.  (That amount of brine will fill two pints--maybe a bit more.)  I put a lid on the the jar, pop it in the fridge for a few days, and then pull the peppers out for pizza, salads...any place you need a little spice.  Something about the lemon just gives them such a nice zing!

I don't know how long they keep for.  We haven't kept a jar long enough to find out when they go bad!*

(*Of course, as with all home-preserved goods, if it looks or smells funky, toss it!)