Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Recipe: Fermented Jalapeno and Cayenne Peppers

I think I've made my position known here before: I am not a huge fan of spicy foods.

However, I make a lot of spicy food anyway because the boyfriend loves it. I'm slowly learning to love it, as apparently spicy food is an acquired taste, but often that means I have a lot of spicy peppers left over and I certainly don't like to eat them. While I did make hot sauce so he could season his food appropriately, I found another great fermenting idea to satisfy us both.

I started doing this last year when I noticed a lot of jalapenos on sale at the farmer's market for $1. Obviously I'm not going to use the entire bag in a week, so I decided to ferment them in brine.

In addition to the health benefits for fermenting (which, coincidentally, is the reason I pass these out to nauseous people), the peppers become a little softer and are a great snack. They also become a little more mellow and not as spicy so I can use a bit more in my food.

Even though the spice factor has been taken down a notch or two, if you're not used to spicy foods, I do NOT recommend drinking the brine. You could probably mix it with alcohol for a fun drink though.

For this I used jalapeno peppers and cayenne peppers.

A decent amount of peppers - enough to fit in your jar
Optional: Garlic, Onions, Pepper, any other spices

The amount of salt to water depends on the size of your container. I usually make a 2% brine, which is 1 tablespoon per quart of filtered water.

I fill the quart jar about halfway and add a tablespoon of salt. Dissolve the salt.

Gently rinse your peppers. Slice however you like and place them in the jar.

Pack the peppers (and other optional spices and flavorings) in until the jar is full - leave about an inch of room at the top. If necessary, add more filtered water until all the peppers are covered.

Because vegetables have a tendency to float, add a weight of some kind. Some people use rocks, glass balls, a small glass, a plastic bag filled with water - anything to keep the vegetables from popping up. I wedged a long piece of pepper under the mouth of the jar to keep everything down on the jar on the left.

Wait about a week, depending on the temperature of your home. Taste the peppers and if you love them, stick them in the fridge to slow down the fermentation. Enjoy!

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