Late this past week I was offered a pile of banana peppers from another gardener. They said they had too many. This must be an added bonus of gardening: in addition to eating food from your own garden you get to eat food from other people’s too. Of course I said yes, but it wasn’t until I got back to my apartment that I realized I had absolutely no idea what one does with banana peppers. The only time I can remember eating them is on Subway sandwiches, in which case they taste rather like they’ve been pickled. A quick google search confirmed my worry that no one else knows what to do with them either. The few recipes with banana peppers as a main ingredient involve frying them, stuffing and frying them, putting them into a casserole, and pickling or fermenting them. As I’m not a huge fan of fried food, the choice was rather obvious: banana pepper pickles. Perusing Food in Jars, I found the following recipes for hot pepper pickles and jalapeno pickles. I ended up going with a mixture of the two recipes, using the brine from the jalapeno pickles (white vinegar, water, and salt) and the peppers cut into rings as suggested in the hot pepper pickles recipe. In addition to the banana peppers, I added a single jalapeno for an extra bit of heat. The unflavored brine should make these peppers very versatile, perfect for sandwiches or as an addition to salsa or guacamole.
Banana Pepper Pickles
(Enough brine for 2 pint jars)
Banana peppers (enough to fill two pint jars when cut up, about 4-5 cups)
1 jalapeno pepper
2 cups distilled white vinegar (5% acidity)
2 cups water
2 tablespoons salt
To make the pickle: Cut the stems off the peppers and cut the peppers into rings. Don’t worry about removing the seeds. Place the peppers in a bowl while you make the brine. Mix the vinegar, water, and salt in a pot and bring to a boil. As soon as the brine reaches a boil, add the cut up peppers. As soon as the brine plus peppers reaches a boil again, turn off the heat and proceed with canning.
To can the pickle: Follow the detailed instructions for canning in the dilly beans recipe, with the following specifications. Fill the pint jars first with the peppers using a slotted spoon, and then fill in the space with brine using a ladle, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace at the top of the jar. Process the pint jars of pickle in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.