Preparing and preserving fresh peppers

Next February, pick several different kinds of peppers from your seed catalog. It sounds like your soil and climate are ideal for growing peppers. Of course, don’t skip over the hot varieties. They are fun to grow and fun to feed to your friends and neighbors.

Here are three recipes that might help you this year, with your over-abundant harvest of banana peppers.

Pickled Sweet Peppers

3 pounds banana peppers, cleaned and sliced
1 quart cider vinegar
1/4 cup honey

Blanch pepper slices in steam for two minutes. Drain. Combine vinegar and honey in an enameled or stainless steel saucepan. Bring to a boil. Meanwhile, pack pepper slices in hot, scalded pint jars. Cover peppers with the hot vinegar solution, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Seal and process jars for 10 minutes in a boiling-water bath. Yield: 4 to 5 pints.

Best-Ever Piccalili

  • 12 medium-sized green tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 6 banana peppers
  • 3 sweet red peppers
  • 3 cups cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons celery seeds
  • 2 tablespoons mustard seeds

Wash and chop all vegetables. Place in a large soup pot. Add two cups vinegar and boil for 30 minutes, stirring frequently. Drain and discard liquid. Return vegetables to pot. Add remaining one cup vinegar, honey, salt and spices.

Simmer over medium heat for three minutes. Pack into hot, sterilized jars, one at a time. Fill to 1/8 inch below top of jar and seal immediately. Process in boiling water bath (212 F) for 10 minutes. Makes 3 pints.

Pottsville Pepper Relish

When locals in my hometown, Pottsville, Pennsylvania, get together for a summer fish supper, this special relish has an honored spot on every table.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup thinly sliced cili peppers
1 cup thinly sliced banana peppers
1 cup thinly sliced sweet red peppers
1 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon mustard seeds, ground

In a 6-8 quart pot, heat oil one minute, over medium heat. Add peppers and onions and saute for 10 minutes.

Stir in vinegar, honey and mustard seeds until blended. Cover, reduce heat to low and cook for 30 minutes. Stir frequently. Remove from heat to cool. Cover and refrigerate, up to 2 weeks. Makes 1 1/2 cups.

I truly hope you enjoy your “peck of pickled peppers.”


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