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Jarring jalapeno peppers is a way to cut a little bite from their heat, while adding a tangy blast of other flavors like garlic or even bay leaf. Pickling jalapenos does not take much culinary expertise. Certain tips and processes, however, could make some batches stand out from the rest — not just in terms of flavor but also aesthetics. The ingredients, the marination period, and the sanitation concerns are all important factors to consider when pickling jalapenos.
Pickling jalapenos entails a basic process that is similar to the process for most vegetables. Sliced or whole jalapenos are stuffed rightly into a jar. Then, a blend of equal parts water and vinegar — preferably cider vinegar to impart some sweetness — is stirred over medium heat, adding peppercorns, a few bay leaves, salt and some fresh minced garlic. Other chefs go so far as to add spices like ginger, cinnamon, oregano, thyme, basil and a little olive oil, too. When any seasonings are used, however, they should not be powdered, or the brine is likely to cloud.
After a few minutes of cooling, the vinegar mixture can be poured over the jalapenos in the jar. The lid should immediately be sealed on the jar and refrigerated. Though some start to consume the peppers after just a few hours of marination, they will need at least a week to take on a truly pickled form and taste. Some store their pickled jalapenos for as long as a three or four months. After this, the brining liquid may have ruined the texture.
To get a better-tasting final product, many chefs will blanch the whole peppers in boiling water for three or four minutes. To avoid having them collapse during blanching, these same chefs will use a needle or paring knife to poke a small hole in the side of each pepper. The peppers can go into the jar after this, sliced or whole.
Aesthetics is an important consideration for those pickling jalapenos for placement on the table, at home or in a restaurant. A mixture of green and red jalapenos will make the jars more pleasing to the eye. Some use pink peppercorns instead of the ordinary black variety. Also, the more fresh herbs and spices that appear in the jar, the more tantalizing they will be to the eye.
Freshness and cleanliness is an important factor of jarring anything. When pickling jalapenos, ripe and ready peppers must be used, and the jars must have been sterilized by boiling them in water for at least 20 or 30 minutes. Many canners decry the use of metal lids, which are likely to rust. They opt instead for lids with rubberized interiors.