Saturday, January 7, 2012



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Several years ago, I developed a pickled pepper recipe for a friend. Daryl had given me some seeds from a pepper he had wrapped up in tin foil. He had been to a restaurant for dinner and complimented the chef on the meal, particularly the peppers. Well, the peppers were imported from Italy and the chef had given Daryl an actual dried pepper (hence, the tin foil wrapping).

Knowing that I like to grow things and being excited at the prospect of harvesting bunches of these delicious peppers, he passed the seeds onto me. We had one good season. Disappointingly, the second and third years (generations) never produced enough peppers for pickling; possibly, they were a hybrid. Anyway, I have a few seeds left from the last lonely pepper - one a third generation plant produced - and I am going to try planting one more time. Though a bit disappointing in the pepper production arena, the whole experience did lead to a wonderful recipe for preserving peppers.

I wanted to do Italian style preservation in what I assumed would be just olive oil, but every recipe I found was more towards pickling. I queried all my foodie friends and relatives, searching high and low for recipes on preserving peppers. Finally, I modified one recipe from many. 

You can use any kind of pepper in this recipe: sweet, hot, or a combination of both.  We certainly continue to enjoy peppers bottled this way and hope you will too.

NOTE: If using any hot peppers, please make sure to wear some kind of glove while cutting or stemming. Do not rub face or eyes - even if you get a sudden, uncontrollable itch!



4 pounds Peppers

1/4 Cup Raw Sugar

1/2 Cup Water

1 Cup Oil

2 Cups White Vinegar

2 cloves Garlic

1/2 Tablespoon prepared Horseradish


Wash Peppers.  You may stem and pack them whole or slice them into circles, depending on your preference and size of canning jars. Do not worry about removing seeds.

In a stainless steel pot, combine all ingredients. Simmer for 15 minutes.  Do not boil.

Using a slotted spoon, pack Peppers into sterilized jars.

Bring remaining pickling juice to a roiling boil.  Remove from heat. Using ladle, evenly divide liquid between jars of peppers.  You may place garlic cloves into two jars or discard, as desired.

Jars need to be filled leaving only 1/4 inch headspace.  If you do not have enough picklingjuice, top off containers with olive oil.

Clean rims.  Adjust caps.

Process in a Boiling Hot Water Bath: 10 minutes for half pints or pints, 15 minutes for quarts.

Makes about 8 half pints. Stores on shelf, unopened, for 1 year.

Refrigerate after opening.


  1. Hi Beth. I just harvested a large quantity/variety of peppers - probably one of my final harvests of the year. I'd like to try this recipe, but I'm confused about how to measure a quart of peppers - would 32 oz. of peppers (the liquid measurement equivalent) be in the ballpark?

  2. Very good question, particularly because it made me review my recipe and make some changes for the sake of clarity. Let me preface my answer by stating that I believe trying to figure out how many vegetables of any kind going into a canning jar is not an exact science. In general, I always make sure I have a few more jars and lids than I believe I will need, sterilized and ready to go, just in case.

    Often a bit of guess-timation is required when I pickle or can, so one of my methods is to do a ‘dry’ run. For example: with the peppers I would, if leaving them whole, stuff one of my jars of a chosen size with the peppers and estimate how many jars I needed from there, keeping in mind that you will be adding a liquid to the mix. I would do the same if I were to slice the peppers. You can also work with weight when it comes to the peppers, estimating a pound per pint of peppers.

    I do see that not only did I make a mistake saying I made 8 pints when it was 8 half pints, but that I had picked about a dry quart container of peppers, but the instructions would make more sense if I stated 4 pounds of peppers, more or less. So, while there are 32 liquid ounces in a quart, you will need approximately 4 pounds of peppers for this recipe.

    I hope this answers your question and good luck with your Pickled Peppers!

  3. At last I have found an easy to follow recipe that sounds exactly like the bottled ones I buy from the Italian shop in the small town in warmer climes than where we live. We leave behind the southern chilles and difficult growing season (at least for warm weather fruits) to visit our kids & grandson... But in reality it's to stock up on jars of marinated capsicum and eggplant and choose fro an assortment of differently processed olives. Then we sit outside to watch people walk by as we have a lunch of good coffee and a toasted roll with most/all the ingredients just mentioned, before heading off with our hoard until the following holiday...
    And now back to the recipe - a question: could I roast the peppers (in Aus we call them capsicum) first and what does 'prepared' horseradish mean? Is it a necessary ingredient - what does it do besides make it hot and would a chilli or two be ok if this is the case, or does it have a preservative quality? I am trying roasting them in any case, as i type, and without horseradish, as i only have some just begining to grow and the root would not be developed yet.
    Thanks in advance

    1. I am glad you found the recipe easy to follow. Did you look at the recipe I have for pickling eggplant, it is based on the same concept. Anyway, to answer you questions: here in the States we use a prepared horseradish which simply means it is grated and bottled in (white) vinegar. If you have fresh horseradish available you could use that. It is not a necessary ingredient, but it does give it a spicy 'kick'. A chili or two would also give the recipe a 'kick' though I would consider it more hot than spice. The vinegar is really the preservative in this recipe. Roasting your capsicum would be just fine, but I would still boil them for a few minutes in the oil/vinegar before bottling them. Visit me on Facebook (Preserved and Pickled) and post a photo when you are finished. Love to see your work!

    2. Really nice recipe! Thank you so much for the clarity and simplicity. Can I use Apple Cider vinegar does it have to be the white? I always use the white for cleaning purposes and it kinda freaks me out to cook with it.


    3. Anna,

      Absolutely, it will just change the flavor a bit. I had a friend that used White Wine Vinegar and she was quite happy with the results. Let me know how you do with the recipe.