There is some mystique around pickling. It’s what your grandmother or great grandmother did. Walking into the kitchen and smelling the vinegar, sugar, and spices, watching in wonder a few weeks later when the pickled vegetables were pulled out of the jar; it was a process that seemed both magical and delightful. I always loved tasting the spring flavors in winter, looking at the perfectly preserved colors. My child brain really didn’t understand the chemical transformation that was taking place but it didn’t need to. Grandma made good food.
Alas, I did not retain the information that she was passing on to me. I’ve had to recreate that child-like wonder through working in professional kitchens and practicing the techniques that I re-learned. There really is nothing mystical about pickling. It just requires time and patience.
Last year I planted a jalapeno bush that was prolific during the seasons. I wanted to preserve the freshness and heat of these flavorful chilies so I leaned back into what I had learned not only years but months earlier while working in the last kitchen of my professional career.
Here’s a loose interpretation of the recipe I was learned there.
- Put the jalapenos in a 4 quart container that is heat resistant. Set aside.
- Place all the pickling liquid ingredients in a sturdy stock pot and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat and let simmer for ten or so minutes so all the spices are infused.
- Pour through a sieve (chinois) over the sliced jalapenos.
- Cover with cheese cloth.
- Let the jalapenos sit out for two to three days.
- Ladle into canning jars. Process in a water bath for 10-15 minutes.
- Follow these instructions for proper canning techniques for fermented and pickled vegetables.