You guys. Pickling produce is so easy. You will be amazed that the entire bounty growing in your backyard (or on sale in the produce section at the grocery store) can be pickled and enjoyed on sandwiches, in salads, in fish tacos, on top of hamburgers, delicately placed in the fold of the bun holding a juicy hot dog, on pizza, on cheese and crackers, plain-right-out-of-the-jar. Ooooh, girl. My mouth just watered.
Anyway, you name it, and it can be pickled.
Asparagus. Duh. Use the deliciously brined stalks to stir a bloody mary.
Carrots? Uh huh.
Onions. For sure.
Beets? Omgosh, yes. Get in my mouth.
Watermelon rinds. Sound weird? Try it.
Brussels sprouts. So crunchy and too good to be true.
Green beans? One of my favorite pickled gems.
The list could really go on and on and on.
And that leads us to cucumbers and banana peppers. A lot of my co-workers have gardens in their backyards. This is a good thing for me because aforementioned co-workers bring in abundances of the produce they simply cannot eat in a reasonable amount of time. This includes tomatoes, green peppers, squashes and so much more. Last week, banana peppers and cucumbers were overflowing on the counter at work. So, like a considerate co-worker, I waited until the end of the day when everyone had his chance to grab what he wanted before I took all the leftovers home. And I gave ’em a bath. Oh, boy. Did I ever. A nice, salty, vinegary, garlicky bath. Annnnnnd, my mouth just watered again.
Pickled Peppers & Cucumbers
The recipe below yielded 1 (8-ounce) jar of cucumbers and 2 (8-ounce) jar of peppers
1 1/4 cups white vinegar
1/2 cup filtered water
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon salt*
3 garlic cloves, smashed but kept in tact
1 small cucumber (~7-8 inches), sliced
9 banana peppers (~4 ounces), seeded and sliced**
1 shallot, sliced
*Tip: I used canning and pickling salt, which is very fine and sandy. If you opt for kosher salt, use the same amount, but let it simmer a little longer in the vinegar solution until it fully dissolves.
**Seeding Tip: Chop the top of the pepper off. Let a little running water flow through the cut opening, then smack the pepper, cut-side-down, against the side of the sink. Most of the seeds will pop right out. If you like spice, skip the seeding step.
- Place vinegar, water, sugar and salt in a small saucepan, and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir until the sugar and salt dissolve, approximately 3-5 minutes.
- Remove from heat, and allow the mixture to cool to room temperature.
- Place a garlic clove in each Mason jar, and place cucumbers and banana peppers, separately, into each jar. Pack tightly.
- Sprinkle some shallots evenly into each jar.
- Pour the vinegar mixture in each jar until the cucumbers and peppers are just covered.
- With a butter knife, slowly poke around the edges of the jar to remove air bubbles and make the cukes and peppers settle evenly.
- Secure the lids tightly, and turn upside down a couple times to incorporate all the ingredients.
- Refrigerate for 24 hours before eating, and consume within a month or two. That’s a joke though, because they’ll never last that long.