We have two happy jalapeno plants in our garden. Until it got hot, they produced like crazy...they've since slowed down, and now instead of staying green, the peppers are turning red. Earlier in the season, they were fairly mild, but now with the hot weather, they have a good burn!
We were overwhelmed the other week with a big batch of jalapenos and I didn't know what to do with them. I thought of the sad, limp and less-than-inspired little jar of jalapenos I had recently bought for some tacos and thought that I could do better than that. So I did. These yummy pickled jalapenos (original recipe here) have my jalapeno-loving friends asking for them for Christmas! I don't think there's a much better affirmation of a food than that.
You can keep these fresh and store them in the fridge, and they will retain a nice crunch for a week or two before they start to soften. You can also can them and put them away for later. I made a big quart jar of them fresh and they didn't last long, so then I canned a few half pint jars and am hiding them until the holidays. I think homemade pickled jalapenos go well with almost everything - my favorite way to enjoy them right now is with crackers and hummus and on pizza!
A word of caution on slicing jalapenos - you should wear rubber gloves. I made the mistake of ignoring this advice and then suffered from jalapeno burns on my hands, which became quite painful. It started as a tingle, then a warmness, and then my hands really hurt. I washed my hands in vain - the oils from the peppers do not wash away with water. Luckily, my mom was here and suggested home remedies for pepper burns. A soak in orange juice helped a little bit, but a paste made of water and baking soda was more effective (cover hands thickly, then let paste dry - I did this twice). Cutting hot peppers with my bare hands is a mistake I will only make once - I now have a stash of disposable rubber gloves at the ready in the kitchen!
Fresh Pickled Jalapenos
1 pound jalapenos, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
small bay leaves
several small cloves of crushed garlic
1 tbsp. peppercorns
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
2 tbsp. kosher salt
1 tbsp. sugar
Pack the jalapenos into one or more glass jars (I used one quart jar), layering with a few cloves of the garlic and 1 bay leaf in each jar (or 2 bay leaves in a quart jar). Add the peppercorns to the jar(s). Heat the remaining ingredients in a saucepan over low heat and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and pour the liquid over the jalapenos. Let sit until the liquid has cooled to room temperature and then store in the fridge.