Pickled chillies

January 14th, 2011

If you’ve been to Wahaca (and survived the queues), you’ll know that they give you free seeds in little match packets to take home. A little over excited at having a whole raised bed to plant stuff in this summer, we decided to grow some chillies. A lukewarm summer later and the chilli plants had just about managed to flower, but nothing else. Finally, by later September we actually got some chillies, fat serrano chillies, similar to jalapenos.

Come October the plants were looking pretty good, but worried about the impending frost, I decided to harvest all the chillies and pickle them. I used the very easy Jamie Oliver recipe and patiently waited 6 weeks or so for them to pickle.

Worth the wait? In a word, yes! Pickling is not only a great way to preserve the chillies, the sweet and sour tang actually makes them tastier. Wickedly good with cheese, divine on any kind of burger or kebab and perfect with Mexican food.  They’re so good in fact, that I would buy up packets of chillies in bulk to make of these and I urge you to do the same.

You’re looking for unblemished, medium-sized, meaty chillies and green are better than red, otherwise they’ll blow your head off.

600g green chillies
15 black peppercorns
5 bay leaves
3 tbsp coriander seeds
5 tsp salt
6 heaped tbsp caster sugar
1 litre white wine vinegar or rice vinegar

  • Slice the chillies from the stalk end to the tip on one side only and shake out as many seeds as possible.  Pour boiling water over the chillies, let them sit for 5 minutes, then drain.
  • Put the black peppercorns, bay leaves, coriander, chillies and salt into a large, sterilised jar, or other airtight container.
  • Put the sugar and the vinegar into a pan and heat until the sugar is fully dissolved. When this is quite hot, but not boiling, pour it into the jar with the chillies. Allow to cool down and then put the lid on.
  • Put in the fridge and leave for a minimum of two weeks before using. They will keep in the fridge for at least four months.

To sterilise your jar: First wash the jars in soapy water and rinse in clean warm water. Allow them to drip-dry, upside down, on a rack in the oven set to 140C. Leave them there for at least half an hour. Make sure you remove any plastic parts before putting the jars into the oven, as they’ll melt! (I know this from personal experience.)

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3 Responses to “Pickled chillies”

  1. Su-Lin says:

    What a great way to pickle chillies – love that they’ll just stay in the fridge. I’m terrified of preserving goods; it’s the fear of killing myself with a badly preserved jam or whatnot that I need to overcome!

  2. Rachel says:

    I wouldn’t worry 🙂 You’ll know if something isn’t preserved properly as mould will quickly start growing on it!
    These chillies are definitely a good introduction to preserving and so worth it.

  3. […] know exactly what he means. I feel much the same about pickling chillies: really, once was enough. But as to ordinary food – the sort found in supermarkets and the […]

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