Sunday, October 5, 2014

Italian Vinegar and Oil Pickled Hot Peppers - And Good Neighbors

A small canning jar, sparkling like sliced yellow sapphires and studded with an occasional sliver of ruby, passed from my neighbor's hands into my grateful ones. I had been gifted a precious jar of Joanna's annual Italian Vinegar and Oil Pickled Hot Peppers. As I've told Joanna often, they are the best doggone pickled peppers that have ever gilded a hoagie!

This year, I got something even better...the recipe! Well, not better than the actual peppers, but the tools to do them myself! 

Serendipitously, there were bags of hot banana peppers available for swap out at my Dillner Family Farms CSA pick up for a couple weeks in a row. Anticipating collecting enough of the firm long yellow peppers for Joanna's recipe, I swapped out zucchini or lettuce or even some potatoes until I had enough peppers for a small batch of my own jarred pickled hot peppers. 

Finally, canning night. Following Joanna's recipe carefully, I brought vinegar, sugar and water to a boil. I'd already prepared the jars, sliced the peppers and readied the garlic, salt and olive oil. The jars were lined up on the counter filled with their colorful contents just waiting. I poured the boiling liquid carefully over the contents of each jar and capped each one securely. 

After a while, I heard the reassuring soft pop of each lid indicating the seal had worked. That made no difference to me really, because I lack confidence in my safe canning abilities (it has been MANY years since I could call myself an accomplished canner) and refrigerated all 4 pints of peppers as soon as they came to room temp. Better safe than sorry, you know!

Have I mentioned before that I have the best neighbors in all of the North Hills? I'd even venture to say in all of the Greater Pittsburgh area! 

Italian Vinegar and Oil Pickled Hot Peppers

  • 4-6 C hot banana peppers, cleaned, stem ends cut off, sliced thinly
  • 8 large garlic cloves, peeled, stem end cut off and left whole
  • 8 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 8 tablespoons good olive oil

  • 2 C white vinegar
  • 2 C water
  • 1 C granulated sugar

  • 4 pint jars with rings and lids or 8 half pint jars with rings and lids

In a pot on the stove, boil the lids for the jars for 5 minutes. Remove, dry thoroughly and set aside on a clean, dry cloth. Run the jars and rings through the dishwasher. Have everything ready to go when the jars and rings immediately come out of the dishwasher.

If you're using pint jars, add 2 garlic cloves to each jar along with 2 teaspoons salt and 2 T olive oil. (If using 1/2 pints, use 1 garlic clove, 1 t salt and 1 T olive oil to each jar.) On top of those ingredients, cram the pepper rings as tightly into each jar as possible while still leaving about 1/4-1/2" between the contents and the tops of the jars. 

Pour the boiling vinegar, water, sugar mixture over top contents of each jar, again leaving 1/4-1/2" clearance at the top. Make sure the rims of the jars are squeaky clean and place the lids on top of each jar. Tighten the rings securely and allow the jars to cool to room temperature. Each lid should "pop" as it seals. If not, and I don't trust it, refrigerate the peppers. 

Allow the peppers 3 weeks or so to reach the pickling sweet spot and serve  on sandwiches, in salads, however you enjoy the most!

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