Pickled jalapenos

August 31, 2011

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Makes 3 pints

Jalapenos may be devilishly hot, but they are also full of flavor if you pickle them yourself with herbs and vegetables. Put up some jars now and you will have ready-made gifts for your fearless fire-eating friends at the holidays. Don’t discard the juice. Spoon a little in a taco, or stir into guacamole for some extra zest.

2 sprigs fresh oregano, cut into 3-inch lengths
3 sprigs fresh thyme
3 bay leaves
1 pound jalapeno peppers
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 white onion, halved lengthwise and thickly sliced
2 carrots, thickly sliced
6 whole garlic cloves, peeled
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 1/2 cups white vinegar
1/4 cup water

1. Have 3 clean pint jars on hand. In each jar, place 2 lengths of oregano, 1 sprig of thyme, and 1 bay leaf.

2. With a paring knife, cut a small cross in the tip of each pepper. Leave the stems intact.

3. In a large pot over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the onion, carrots, and garlic. Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until onions are wilted.

4. Add the jalapenos, salt, pepper, vinegar and water to the pot. Increase the heat to high and bring to a full boil. Adjust the heat to a simmer and cook for 3 minutes.

5. In a colander set over a bowl, ladle the vegetables, reserving the liquid that collects in the bowl.

6. Pack the peppers and vegetables into the jars. Ladle the hot brine over them, leaving a 1/4-inch head space. Gently slip a wooden skewer or chopstick between the peppers and the side of each jar to release air bubbles.

7. Seal the jars and store in the refrigerator for up to 6 months. Or process the jars while still hot in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes (see instructions) and store in a cool place for up to 1 year.

Sally Pasley Vargas