Pickled Pepper Rings

It feels like it was a far off and distant time ago that I was carefully and hopefully starting my pepper plants in their little newspaper starter pots.  With a lot of  hope and anticipation, I babied them through those first months of sunbathing on the windowsill, practiced a little tough love hardening them off in the fickle Minnesota spring, and eventually, set them free to take root in the garden.  I love that something as humble as a little pepper seed grew into something as stunning and beautiful as these heirloom Santa Fe Grande peppers.  That, my friends, is satisfaction.
Also satisfying: finally getting the first taste of a new variety after months of anticipation and speculation.  I have been slowly picking a few of these beauties over the course of the last month, trying them out at each stage of ripeness.  From the sunny yellow peppers that are slightly sweet with just the right amount of lingering heat, to the golden orange peppers that are hotter than a jalapeno and makes a perfect batch of hot salsa, and the fire engine red peppers burn the senses in a good way, these little heirloom peppers pack a lot of heat and flavor.
One of the main reason I chose these hot peppers was to make a batch of colorful hot pepper rings, and after harvesting two pounds of these gorgeous peppers the other night, the time had finally arrived! I used a very basic recipe for the brine, which I poured over four packed little half pint jars, and processed in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.  Easy as can be and pretty as all get out.   These are going to be fantastic on sandwiches and pizzas and anything else I can throw them on!
Pickled Pepper Rings
1 pound hot peppers, sliced 
2 cups white vinegar (5% acidity) 
2 cups water
2 tablespoons salt

Carefully slice peppers into rings and pack into hot sterilized jars.  Combine vinegar, water, and salt in a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil, stirring until all the salt is dissolved.  Pour hot brine over peppers, leaving 1/2 inch head space.  Remove air bubbles and wipe rims before before putting on lids and rings.  Process 10 minutes in a hot water bath.  After processing, set jars on a clean towel and allow jars to cool undisturbed for 24 hours before checking seals and removing rings.  

Yields 4 half pint jars

Recipe adapted from Food in Jars

Grow It Forward Heirloom Seed Contest

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