If you’re topping up your storage cupboard, or you simply fancy a fun and wholesome afternoon kitchen activity, you’ve come to the right place.
We’ve got all you need to know about pickling chilli like a pro for perfectly preserved spicy treats made to last.
In this article we will look at what pickled chillies are, why you should pickle them and how to get the job done.
By the end, you’ll be ready to get your spicy glut pickled up and ready for using in all kinds of yummy recipes.
Here’s everything you need to know about pickling chilli:
You may have heard about pickled items like gherkins and cucumbers, which account for nearly 60 thousand metric tons of vegetable production coming out of Canada alone.
What you may not have heard of is pickled chillies, which are not as common, but they are just as tasty!
A pickled chilli can be any chilli that is put into a sterilised container with vinegar (different types are used) and then sometimes spices and seasonings are added.
They can be pickled roughly chopped, sliced or whole depending on your preference and the size of the chilli/ receptacle.
Why try pickling chilli when you can buy pickled chilli?
Firstly, you can save money. If you like to have a larder full of tasty preserves and pickled foods, pickling chilli makes sense.
Globally, the sales of naturally healthy food and drink is worth nearly $260 billion USD, but you can save those dollars for yourself! At least with pickling chilli, which you can do yourself easily.
Secondly, it makes the most of your chilli harvests. We have been pickling our veg pals for 4,000 years to avoid food wastage and to build stocks between harvests. If you grow your own chillies or you get a few at a great price, pickling them stretches out the time that you have to enjoy those hot, spicy, tasty treats.
Another great reason to pickle chillies is for the health benefits. Pickled vegetables lose some nutrition when they are preserved, but they gain really helpful bacteria that boost gut health.
Chillies themselves are also healthful, and although they lose some nutrition when they are pickled, they don’t lose all of it. They contain vitamin C, B6, K1, potassium, copper and vitamin A as well as bioactive plant compounds and antioxidants.
All the benefits above give you an extra bonus of creating great preserves for yourself and to give as gifts to friends and family.
Pickled chilli look great, have a great shelf life and they give your loved one tons of healthy benefits too.
Pickling chillies is really easy and best done if you have a glut of homegrown chillies, or you’ve been lucky enough to have been given a big batch.
To prepare pickle chillies, you should give them a good wash, and you can then either leave them whole or slice them.
Unless you tend to serve them up whole, usually it’s best to slice them and pickle them so they’re ready for use right out of the jar. They can be used in all kinds of yummy dishes like pasta arrabiata, chilli, guacamole and pizza.
We’ll give you instructions for the yummy pickling mixture below. First, here’s how to ensure that you keep the results nice and sterile. This process is essential to stop bacteria being introduced to the pickled chillies, which will then lead them to degrade and deteriorate.
By sterilising them you protect the items inside until you’re ready to open the jar and get stuck in to your tasty spicy treats.
To sterilise you need to:
- Wash the jars in hot soapy water, rinse them and then leave them to dry naturally on a clean surface
- Put the jars in the oven at about 175 degrees c for 15 minutes
- Place your hot pickling mixture into a receptacle that is very easy to pour without spillage, like a spouted kitchen jug
- Fill the jars leaving around ¼ an inch at the top taking care not to get any mixture on the rim
- Do not allow the mixture to cool, and instead put the lids onto the jars (with a wax paper seal if preferred) when the mixture is still hot and seal tightly. You can also use a wax paper and cellophane seal secured with an elastic band
- The mixtures will keep for about 6 months on average if kept in a dark and cool larder if jarred in this way. They should also last about four months in a fridge (once jarred and cooled) unopened
To make the pickled chillies please follow these instructions:
*Adjust according to the amount of chillies/ weight of chillies you are using*
- One pound of chillies
- ½ cup of vinegar (usually white or cider vinegar works best)
- ⅓ cup white sugar
- 2 tsp high quality salt
- 1 tbsp mustard seeds
- 1 tbsp coriander seeds
- ½ cup of water
- Place the prepared chillies into jars along with a couple of bay leaves
- In a saucepan mix together vinegar, mustard seeds, coriander seeds, salt and sugar and bring to a boil (open the windows as the mixture can smell really strong!)
- Follow the instructions above to add the mixture to the jars
Which Peppers Are The Best To Use When Pickling Chilli?
When you are pickling chilli you can choose any chilli pepper you like, there are no restrictions on the veggies that you store.
Jalapeños lend themselves to the process as they are naturally juicy but not too hot, so they go with everything.
If you want to make more of an impact with a jarred gift, pickle some Carolina reapers or ghost peppers for a super hot addition to any meal. Just be sure to warn the recipient of the absolute fire contained in the jar!
You’re Ready To Pickle Chillies!
With all the tips above you are ready to start pickling chilli. Yummy meals and recipes are in your future with this brand new preserving skill!