Last year, I came home from a month-long vacation to be greeted by a bounty of pepper waiting for the harvest. I had to pick a load of peppers of different varieties; Saber, Ajvarski, and Chocolate peppers. This quick pickled sweet peppers recipe came in handy.
What is pickling?
Pickling is a way of preserving fresh vegetables and fruits. It is a very old practice dating back to the Mesopotamian era, thousands of years ago. Pickling allowed old civilizations to enjoy out-of-season crops all year round. It also helped travelers and sailors take plenty of food with them in their long voyages without spoiling.
Is pickling the same as fermenting?
Fermenting is the natural process of breaking down material by bacteria, yeast, and other microscopic livings. When fermenting, the vegetables are fully submerged in salty water. The process does not require boiling or sealing the jars. During the fermentation period, which takes a few weeks, gasses are emitted, causing an overflow of the brine.
Pickling, on the other hand, relies on acidity. The vinegar reduces the pH in the pickling environment killing the living organisms. This process extends the life of the food by slowing down its decay.
Overall, fermentation preserves food by promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria suppressing the harmful ones. And pickling preserves the food by killing all living organisms, thus slowing down its spoilage. Also, pickling takes less time than fermenting. And canning the jars by sealing their lids allows longtime storage.
Good For You
Fermented food is rich in gut-healing bacteria known as Probiotics.
What is brine?
The brine is a high concentration liquid added to the vegetables or fruits intended to preserve. In the case of fermentation, it is salty water. In pickling, it is a mix of vinegar, water, salt, and sometimes sugar.
Fermentation brine does not require boiling the water, while the pickling brine calls for boiling the water, vinegar, and salt solution before pouring it over the vegetables.
What kind of vinegar is best for pickling?
Any vinegar will work for pickling as long as it has 5% acidity. However, using dark vinegar, such as apple cider or red wine vinegar, will alter the color of your produce. It can also create a cloudy pickling juice, which many find undesirable.
What salt to use for pickling?
It is important to use pickling or kosher salt in pickling. The salt should not have any additives like table salt. Anti-caking agents and iodine can interfere with the pickling process.
Quick pickling sweet peppers
In quick pickling, the vegetable is ready for consumption as soon as it cools down. This may take a day or less if refrigerated. This kind of pickling does not keep more than two months.
Quick pickling works well with sweet peppers, onions, gerkins, and radishes.
Quick Pickled Sweet Peppers
- Sterile jars
- 1 lb sweet thin peppers
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup vinegar
- 2 garlic cloves
- 8 tsp natural salt
- 1/4 tsp peppercorns
- 1/4 tsp mustard
- 1/4 tsp cloves
- Wash the peppers and slice them into 1/4 inch thick rounds or quarter them lenghtwise.
- Fill the jars with the cut peppers.
- In a saucepan, put all the brine ingredients and bring to a boil. Crush the garlic cloves and add them to it.
- Pour the hot liquid over the peppers, close the lid and let cool down. Refregirate for 24 hours before consumption.