So why am I posting pickling recipes when it’s almost Christmas and you’d probably be more interested in seeing what I’m baking this season?
There are two reasons for that. The first is that our daughter (for whom I mostly bake anything other than bread these days) will be coming home closer to Christmas and so I’ll be doing my holiday baking somewhere mid-month. I promise you all a few Christmas time treats as soon as I start baking.
The other reason is that this is time of the year when I can find Jalapeño chillies/ peppers in the stores. Note I didn’t say market, because I haven’t seen them at the market so far. Jalapeños are usually available only at the one supermarket here in my neighbourhood. They’re not exactly cheap but they’re a whole lot more affordable than the imported bottles of pickled Jalapeños on the shelves.
Just in case you’re unfamiliar with the Jalapenoo chilli/ pepper (though I’m sure everyone knows about it), this is a relative of the capsicum/ bell pepper and is mild to medium hot. This chilli/ pepper derives its name from Spanish for “from Xalapa/ Jalapa”, a town in Mexico, where it was traditionally cultivated. The Mexicans also call it “chile gordo” meaning “fat chilli pepper”, and it’s used a lot in Mexican cuisine.
I love pickled Jalapeños on pizza, in burgers and sandwiches and they only way I can indulge myself is by pickling them for myself when I can find the fresh chillies/ peppers. There is the added bonus that almost every time, home-made can beat the heck out of stuff that comes in a bottle from the store.
If you can find fresh Jalapeño chillies/ peppers, then pickling them is not big deal at all. All you need is water, vinegar, salt and a sweetener (usually sugar, though I personally prefer using jaggery if I can) to balance out the vinegar and salt. That’s it, put them all together in a pan, bring it to boil and steep the sliced chillies/ peppers in them.
I also like to add a little bit of onion to the mix and you may add garlic or whole spices like cinnamon, bay leaf, star anise, etc if that’s something you would like. I don’t as I like to keep this one simple.