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‘Tis the season for pickled jalapenos!
Like it or not, the fall chill is in the air. It’s time to start preserving produce before the cold weather strikes or you take your plants inside to keep them from freezing.
This pickled jalapeno recipe is perfect for preserving the last of your summer jalapenos. All you need are a dozen or so jalapenos and a few minutes, to make a single jar to store in the fridge for up to 6 months. Don’t worry, jalapenos can be found all year round in the grocery store, so you don’t need a plant to make pickled jalapenos.
It seems I’m never really satisfied with my recipe for homemade pickled jalapenos. I’ve shared a couple in the past. They were a little too tart and salty. I recently found a new recipe that we liked a lot better and I want to share it with you. The flavors in this recipe are well-balanced, touching all parts of your palate. These pickled jalapenos are better than store-bought. Best of all they are cheap and easy to make!
You can have pickled jalapenos ready to eat in just minutes. Let’s make some pickled jalapenos!
About Jalapeno Plants
A jalapeño pepper is the fruit of the capsicum pod type. Jalapenos are typically 5,000 to 10,000 Scoville Units, which is on the bottom end of the scale. The heat is usually quite mild producing great flavor without overheating your mouth. Pickling jalapenos mellows the heat and tones down the punch, but not all of it.
A mature jalapeno pepper plant can grow up to 3 feet tall and normally it will produce around 25 to 40 jalapenos. It is important to pick them regularly so it will continue to produce.
If potted, you can keep a jalapeno plant alive indefinitely. My plant, Jose passed away last winter. I kept it alive and producing for 5 years!
When To Harvest Jalapenos
It takes a jalapeño plant about 90 days to mature from a seed to a fruit-producing plant. You can harvest jalapenos when they are about 3-inches long and bright green in color. If you leave them on the plant the color turns darker green and will eventually turn red becoming sweet and hotter in flavor. The red jalapenos are perfect for making smoked chipotle peppers.
Try to avoid damaging the plant by only pulling at the base of the stem. They usually give without a lot of force.
How to Select Jalapenos For Pickling
It is very important to use firm peppers without soft spots, with good color and tight stems. The fresher the peppers the better the results. Also, it is important to keep the size of the jalapenos consistent. This will help keep the texture of the slices consistent throughout the jar.
Ingredients for Pickled Jalapenos
- Jalapeno Peppers – At least a pound, washed and free of soft spots and blemishes
- Water – Use tap water, but do not use chlorinated water. Chlorinated water will kill the natural bacteria needed for fermentation. Use bottled water or filter the water if necessary.
- Distilled White Vinegar (5% acidity) – Distilled white vinegar is clear and colorless vinegar made by fermenting grains. This is what preserves the jalapenos. The aroma is softer than regular vinegar. While it still has a tart acid flavor, it isn’t as strong and it does not affect the color of fruits and vegetables.
- Salt – pickling salt, kosher, or sea salt work best for pickling. Don’t use iodized table salt, which has anti-caking agents that can make pickling liquid cloudy, and can also change the color and taste. [READ MORE]
- Sugar – light sweetness from the sugar offsets the punch of the heat of the jalapeno and pungent taste of the garlic. It is best to use white sugar because it doesn’t mask the rest of the pickling flavors. While honey, agave, or flavored simple syrup can also be added to the brine. However, anything darker than cane sugar will affect the color and change the taste of the final product.
- Garlic – garlic is added to round out the flavor of the jalapenos. Use at least two cloves and smash them to break them open so they will release their oils into the brine.
How to Make Pickled Jalapenos
Wash the jalapenos peppers and cut them into rings. Always wear rubber gloves when working with chilies and wash hands immediately after handling them.
Pack the garlic cloves and jalapeno slices inside a 1-quart mason jar; set aside.
In a medium stainless steel or enamel saucepan, heat the vinegar, water, sugar, and salt over medium-high heat. Stir until the sugar melts; the brine should change from cloudy to clear with no grains of salt or sugar in the bottom of the saucepan. Remove from heat and allow it to cool slightly; about 5 minutes.
Pour the brine solution into the jar with the pepper slices and garlic. Allow the peppers to sit in the brine solution and cool slightly; about 10 to 15 minutes. As the peppers sit in the warm brine their bright green color will start to fade.
Secure the lid; gently shake to distribute the brine. Allow the jar to come to room temperature.
When the jalapenos are cool, they’re ready to eat, but will only get better with time.
How To Store Pickled Jalapenos
You can safely store the pickled jalapenos in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.
Are Pickled Jalapenos Spicy?
Pickling the jalapenos tends to make jalapenos a little milder but that isn’t always the case. Some jalapenos are spicier than others. It just depends on how many seeds and how large the veins are inside.
Don’t like spicy food?
Don’t worry! If you are fearful of spicy foods, you can reduce the heat, by cutting the peppers in half lengthwise and removing the seeds. The veins and seeds are where all the capsaicin lives.
However, you’ll be surprised to know that you can build up your tolerance to spice. My eyes used to tear up from the heat of the jalapeños, but little by little David and I both have built up our tolerance for these little slices of hotness. Pickled jalapeños are now probably our favorite ways to enjoy jalapeños. I crave them! In fact, I’m not sure how long our jars of pickled jalapeños will last. There are times when David and I get on a jalapeno kick and I kid you not, we can eat a whole jar of pickled jalapeños in about two weeks’ time!
How To Enjoy Pickled Jalapenos
Pickled jalapeños are a delicious addition to nachos, burgers, pizza, sandwiches, soups and so much more!
Enjoy Pickled Jalapenos Using These Recipes:
- Smoked Beef Brisket Enchiladas
- Potato Cheddar Soup
- Refried Bean and Cheese Quesadillas
- Sloppy Joes
- Vegetarian Nachos
- David’s Big Twin Double Cheeseburger
If you like jalapeños as much as we do, then this recipe is a must. You’ll be enjoying pickled jalapeños in no time. What would you put them on? Comment below!
Refrigerator Pickled Jalapenos
- 1 pound jalapenos sliced in ¼-inch slices (about 10-20 jalapenos)
- 2 garlic cloves peeled and smashed
- 2 cups distilled white vinegar (5% acidity)
- 2 cups water (non-chloranated)
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoon sea salt kosher or pickling salt (not iondized)
- Wash the jalapenos peppers and cut them into rings. (see notes)
- Pack the garlic cloves and jalapeno slices inside the 1-quart mason jar; set aside.
- In a medium stainless steel or enamel saucepan, heat the vinegar, water, sugar, and salt over medium-high heat. Stir until the sugar melts; the brine should change from cloudy to clear with no grains of salt or sugar in the bottom of the saucepan. Remove from heat and allow it to cool slightly; about 5 minutes.
- Pour the brine solution into the jar with the pepper slices and garlic. Allow the peppers to sit in the brine solution and cool slightly; about 10 to 15 minutes. As the peppers sit in the warm brine their bright green color will start to fade.
- Secure the lid; gently shake to distribute the brine. Allow the jar to come to room temperature.
- When the jalapenos are cool, they’re ready to eat, but will get better with time!
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