Hot Peppers in a Pickle

School Start = Hatch Chili Season

Everywhere I go right now, I see these big black drums filled with roasted hatch chilies.  I must admit as they are roasted in spinning drums, I’m always waiting for someone to reach in and pull out the winning lottery numbers.

Hatch chilies are really Anaheim chili’s with much more heat.  They are named “Hatch” after the small town they are grown in New Mexico (chili capital of the world!).  Just like wine they have different flavors depending on the region where they are produced. It is believed that the hot days and cool nights of this region, give Hatch chili’s their unique flavor.  They have enough heat to let you know they are there, but not too much to overpower the flavor of a dish.

Peppers are an excellent source of Vitamin C! They also contain Vitamin A, B6 and potassium. They are low in calories and contain no saturated fat.

Locked inside of peppers are these amazing phytonutrients known as capsaicin.  Capsaicin is found in the seeds and flesh of peppers and is responsible for its heat. Some people remove their seeds before cooking to cut down on some of the hotness.

This powerful built-in chemical has been shown to help relieve arthritic pain, protect against nerve pain, ease sinus issues, relieve dermatological itching, prevent many forms of cancer, treat ear infections and speed up our metabolism. Plus, many, many, many other health benefits!

FUN FACT ABOUT CAPSAICIN: Capsaicin in hot peppers is a natural pest control service. The burning sensation caused by these fruits, keep animals from eating them.

A pseudo-canning activity you can do with students is to make “pickled hot peppers.” In the recipes I made, I used “hatch” chilies, Fresno red chilies (also named according to the region in which they are grown), jalapenos and serrano’s.

The first recipe is the simplest and doesn’t contain any added sugars or salt.  It’s the purest form of “pickled” hot peppers.

IMPORTANT: MAKE SURE STUDENTS WEAR RUBBER GLOVES WHEN SLICING AND WORKING WITH PEPPERS TO PREVENT THEIR HANDS FROM BURNING OR IRRITATION.

jars-of-refrigerator-pickled-hot-peppers

Quick Pickled HOT Peppers

Ingredients:

  • A variety of sliced hot peppers – remove seeds and inside flesh
  • ¼ of a yellow or sweet onion
  • 2 smashed mature garlic cloves – blanching them first will keep them from turning blue
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar

 Instructions:

  1. Add all ingredients to a pot and bring to a slow boil.
  2. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Use slotted spoon to remove peppers from pot and place in mason jars.
  4. Pour remaining liquid over peppers and cover with lid.
  5. Let sit on a counter top until peppers cool and then serve.

The second recipe contains unrefined honey and a little salt and definitely more of the flavor that students enjoy.

“Crunchy” Pickled HOT Peppers

Ingredients:

  • A variety of sliced hot peppers – do not remove seeds and inside flesh.
  • ¼ of a yellow or sweet onion
  • 2 smashed mature garlic cloves – blanching them first will keep them from turning blue
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons raw honey
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt

 Instructions:

  1. Place peppers in a mason jar.
  2. Add water, vinegar, honey and salt to a pot and bring to a slow boil.
  3. Pour liquid over peppers in mason jar and cover with lid.
  4. Let cool for about 10 minutes and then place jars in the refrigerator to cool.
  5. Serve once peppers are fully cooled. FYI: These peppers taste much better the next day, once the flavors have had time to settle in and are well worth the wait.

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