In a Pickle

Jarred, canned, pickled, and preserved.

In a Pickle: Pickled Hot Pepper Rings

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[Photographs: Marisa McClellan]

I am married to a man who can't handle anything spicier than a green pepper. For a girl who likes her food to have a certain level of va-va-voom, this often means that I have to do a judicious amount of doctoring at the table to satisfy my taste buds. I have a refrigerator door full of kicky condiments and an array of chili powders and flakes in my spice rack. I also make a point to can up a few pounds of hot peppers every season, to ensure that I'm never wanting for heat.

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One of the things I like about these hot peppers is that they are incredibly versatile. The brine is unseasoned so they work just as well on sandwiches as they do chopped and stirred into homemade salsa.

The other nice thing about this recipe is that it comes together in about half-hour. If you're exhausted by your garden and just want to be done with your pepper plants, this approach is a really good answer.

Before You Get Started

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Choose peppers that are in the middle of the heat pack. You don't want to go with habanero or Scotch bonnets for these pickles. Pick jalapenos or banana peppers, something you could see yourself eating on a sandwich.

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Make sure you protect your hands when working with hot peppers. I once gave myself a humdinger of a burn from the pepper oils. These days, I keep a pair of rubber dishwashing gloves tucked away that are only used for chopping hot peppers.

Choose your jars wisely. This recipe makes two pints, but if you take a while to work through a spicy condiment, half pint jars might be a better choice for you.

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Safe the leftover brine! Strain it and keep it for salad dressings. It will have a gentle burn that tastes great with sturdy greens and a splash of olive oil.

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About the author: Marisa McClellan is a food writer, canning teacher, and dedicated pickler who lives in Center City Philadelphia. Find more of her jams, pickles and preserves (all cooked up in her 80-square-foot kitchen) at her blog, Food in Jars.

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