ENDLESS PICKLED PEPPERS
The fearless, voracious deer that enjoy our yard more than we do eat ev-er-y-thing. Seems like the the plants heralded on the "Deer Don't Eat These" lists posted at the nursery actually mean "Deer Don't Eat the Majority of these Plants, Just the Nice Parts You Really Want." Example: Wait all summer for a thatch of Montauk Daisy to produce fall's final flowery flame-out and then poof! The nocturnal marauders have nibbled off every single bud. Look closely and you can even see their evil little teeth marks.
Which brings us to hot peppers. Here's the quandary. Understandably the beasts leave the peppers themselves alone. But the leaves on the plants are fair game. Not so delicious as to denude the whole plant, but enough to seriously cripple production. Still, we do our best, planting as many varieties as we can find and hoping for the best. Jalapenos and little cayennes do pretty well. Strangely the incendiary Scotch Bonnet leaves are catnip to Bambi and friends.
Here's how to set up your own Endless supply: I've always got a couple of quart canning jars in the fridge filled with equal parts water and white vinegar. Pick the peppers, slice, chop or leave whole as the mood strikes and immerse. Return to the fridge. They take a week or so to pickle through and through, but mix them up every time you add more to the jar just go with it. A forkful of pickled bits mixed with not-quite-there-yet pieces is delightful
The vinegar solution gets hotter and hotter as you go on, so only start new jars when you need more room. Just keep stuffing peppers into the jars, adding equal parts water and vinegar when needed. These are also an appropriate final resting place for that extra pepper or two you buy for a recipe and don't use.
My friend, canning goddess Gena Bone of "Well Preserved" probably would have some words of caution or, possibly, disapproval. So I haven't run this little witches' brew scheme by her. Why make waves? I've been at it for a few years with a clean record: no resulting illnesses or deaths.
Jar #1 has a mix of peppers and cuts; Jar #2 has jalapeno strips mixed with red bells and a few slices of onion thrown in for good measure. When the juice gets nice and fiery adding sliced carrots is a good way to stretch the batch and add a little flavor.
You'd think a pinch of salt or a garlic clove or two might improve things but they don't.Print This Post
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