Pickled Jalapeños, Or How to Use Many Jars

Did I mention before I have a jar hoarding problem?

I have a jar hoarding problem. Fortunately, I also have a jam and pickling problem, and a giving jams and pickles away problem, so things generally even out.

The jar count for the last few months has been this:

Pineapple marmalade: 3 8-oz jars

Pineapple orange marmalade (to be blogged about soonish): 6 8-oz jars

Blackberry and orange marmalade (delicious yet needs work before blogging): 4 8-oz jars 

Cajeta (goat milk caramel): 9 8-oz jars

[Psychologist analysis of my work would suggest an unhealthy obsession with thick sticky substances, fruit which may be employed as a weapon in case of emergency, and cup measures.]

And finally,

Jalapeños curtidos, also known as escabeche de jalapeños, or pickled japaleños: 2 16-oz and 6 12 to 14-oz jars.

Jar total: 31 jars.

This mix uses plenty of carrots and cauliflower with the jalapeños, which greedily such up the heat from the peppers, leaving them the least spicy of the three. Tender summer squash and zucchini work equally well.

The method used here, or just barely cooking the vegetables before pickling serves a few purposes. First, cooking until completely pickled before canning results in mushy pickles. No one likes mushy pickles. Second, fruit and vegetables canned raw float, using up more jar space and liquid than they should. Third, it just tastes better this way.

If you would like skip the canning process but still make a lot of pickles, head to the Phoenix New Times archives for my recipe skipping the process.

Escabeche de jalapeños - Pickled Jalapeños

  • 6 or 7 16-oz canning jars and lids
  • 2 lbs jalapeños
  • 1 lb carrots
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1 quart water, preferably distilled or filtered
  • 1 quart distilled white vinegar
  • 1/3 c kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp cracked black pepper
  • 4 bay leaves, crumbled
  • 1/2 heaping tsp Mexican oregano
  • 1/2 heaping tsp coriander seeds
  • 1/2 heaping tsp dry thyme

 

Wash the jars and lids in hot soapy water. Sanitize the jars by placing them on a baking tray in a cold oven. Turn the oven to 350ºF. Heat until jars are completely dry, approximately 10 minutes. Turn off the oven, leaving the jars inside. In the meantime, place the lids in a small pot, cover well with water and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes.

Wash and dry the vegetables well. Cut the stems off the jalapeños, and cut into quarters lengthwise, leaving the seeds intact. Peel the carrots, cutting into thick rounds on the bias (thick = a bit more than 1/8″, but no one is actually measuring here). Trim the cauliflower into florets no bigger than 1″ all around. Be sure to keep the vegetables separate when cut.

Fill a canning pot with enough water to cover submerged pint jars with at least 1″ of water. Place over high heat and bring to a boil.

Place the water, vinegar and spices into a large pot. Bring to a boil, and cook at a strong simmer for 5 minutes. Add the cut carrots to the pot. When the liquid comes back to a simmer, add the cut cauliflower. Bring the liquid to a simmer once again, and add the cut jalapeños. Stir the pot occasionally. Turn off the heat when the jalapeños turn dull green.

Pack the pickled vegetables well into the hot sterilized jars, covering with them fully with pickling liquid and leaving 1/2″ clear in the jar. Poke out any air bubbles with a clean skewer or knife.

Seal the jars. Place on a canning rack and submerge into the boiling hot water bath. Process at high heat for 16 minutes. Turn off the heat, and allow the bath to cool slightly before removing the jars. Leave the jars to rest on a flat surface overnight. Refrigerate any jars which did not seal properly.

 

 

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