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Pickled Sweet Peppers

Frederick, MD(Zone 6b)

I just posted this over in the pepper forum but thought it deserved repeating here since it's such a favorite of ours.

Here's a recipe I've used successfully for several years, often substituting colorful strips of 'Gypsy' peppers or 1/4 inch rings of banana peppers for the green pepper strips in the original recipe. The jars of pickled peppers are beautiful, and they do retain a good amount of crunch -- about the same for the banana peppers as for the thicker walled bell peppers. We probably go through these faster than anything else in the canning pantry; they are just that good! If you have wide mouthed canning jars, it will be a little easier to pack the peppers.

Pickled Sweet Pepper Strips
slightly adapted from _The Joy of Pickling_ by Linda Zeidrich

4 thin slices fresh ginger
4 small garlic cloves
2 tsp. pickling salt (leave this out if you do an ice brine)
2 pounds sweet peppers, seeded and cut into 1/4 or 1/2 inch strips or rings
2 cups white wine vinegar (could substitute distilled white vinegar, but flavor will be a little harsh)
2 cups water
1 1/4 cups sugar

1. Put 1 ginger slice, 1 garlic clove, and 1/2 tsp pickling salt into each of 4 pint mason jars. Pack the pepper strips snugly into the jars.

2. In a nonreactive saucepan, bring to a boil the vinegar, water, and sugar, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Reduce the heat, and cover the pan. Simmer the liquid, covered, for 5 minutes.

3. Pour the hot liquid over the pepper strips, leaving a 1/2 inch headsace. Poke around with a chopstick to get air bubbles out if needed. Close the jars with hot two-piece caps. In a boiling water bath, process the jars for 10 minutes.

4. Store the cooled, sealed jars in a cool, dark, dry place for at least 3 weeks before eating the peppers.

Edited to say that we like to add one small, whole chile pepper or a couple of thin slices of jalopeno to each jar for a little extra zing.

*** UPDATE: try the ice brine method!

These are still my favorite pickle! I looked at my original post at the top just now and realized I have an update... I now use an "ice brine" before packing the peppers into jars, and they turn out a little crunchier.

Toss the pepper rings/strips with pickling salt, about 1 Tablespoon per pound of peppers. Top with ice cubes, enough to generously cover the peppers in whatever bowl you're using (I'm trying to make this adaptable to different size batches, as I often do a double or triple batch of brine.. a couple of standard ice cube trays would be plenty for a single batch).

Let stand 3-4 hours (most of the ice will melt, but they should stay chilly), then drain & rinse before packing into jars.

Omit the salt from the pickling liquid if you use this method.

This message was edited Jul 29, 2012 8:07 AM

Los Angeles, CA(Zone 10a)

Critter, I missed this one. I can't wait to try it.

Frederick, MD(Zone 6b)

You're going to love it! It would work fine with hot banana peppers, too. I ran out of white wine vinegar & couldn't find any locally last week, so I substituted cider vinegar. I figure that since cider vinegar works fine in my sweet cucumber pickles, it should be good here too, and the brine is less harsh tasting than if you use distilled white vinegar. I have a couple of weeks to wait before opening the first jar from this year's batch, but I'll LYK how they turned out!

Hammonton, NJ(Zone 6b)

Want to say Thank You ! Neighbor is giving us a lot of peppers. and had no idea as to what I want to do with them.

Efland, NC(Zone 7a)

Hmmm....sounds good to me! I have loads of peppers!


Point Roberts, WA(Zone 8a)

Have been all morning on the net...this is the best sounding recipe I have found.

I have a big box of little red and yellow sweet peppers...they are bigger than a jalepno and shorter than an anaheim. This recipe looks like it will work for pickling as I want to leave them whole...I wonder and if you know...if I can leave the stems on?
thanks, amyo

Frederick, MD(Zone 6b)

Yes, you can leave the stems on whole peppers. I don't know any reason why this recipe wouldn't work with whole peppers, as long as you cut slits in them so the brine could enter, although I'm cautious about changing things like that in pickle recipes. Maybe you could just cut them in half lengthwise and seed them... that would be similar to cutting larger peppers in strips, and would still look attractive.

However, here's a slightly different recipe I adapted from "The Joy of Pickling" I used 'Sweet Pickles' peppers, which I think are probably similar to the ones you have, and they were delicious!

Short-Brined Pickled Peppers
from The Joy of Pickling, by Linda Ziedrich
(my notes added)

4 pounds peppers
1 1/4 cups pickling salt
1 gallon plus 1 1/2 cups water
2 Tablespoons sugar (I used 4)
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 Tablespoon coarsely grated horseradish (I omitted this)
5 1/2 cups white wine vinegar (which I used) or distilled white vinegar

1. If you're using whole smll peppers, slit them twice lengthwise. In a large bowl or nonreactive pot, dissolve the salt in 1 gallon water. Add peppers. Let them stand in the brine for 12 to 18 hours.

2. Drain & rinse the peppers, and drain them again. In a nonreactive saucepan, bring to a boil the sugar, garlic, horseradish, vinegar, and1 1/2 cups water. Cover pan & reduce heat. Simmer the pickling liquid, covered, for 10 minutes. (Should you start with fewer peppers than this recipe, or should you need a little extra brine, the proportions for the brine work out to 5 Tbsp pickling salt per quart of water.)

3. Pack the peppers into 6 pint mason jars (1 1/2 pounds of my little whole peppers took 3 pint jars). Pour the hot liquid over the peppers, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Close the jars with hot two-piece caps. Process jars for 10 minutes in a boiling-water bath. (I skipped the water bath and just stored my jars in the fridge.)

4. Store the cooled jars in a cool, dry, dark place for at least 3 weeks before eating peppers.

Point Roberts, WA(Zone 8a)

This is perfect! Glad to know I can leave the stems on...they look so pretty that way and it makes a nice little handle for nibblers. :o)

I have all the ingredients and can get them in the first brine this afternoon...thanks for taking the time to answer my question and to post this recipe for me also.


Frederick, MD(Zone 6b)

You're welcome!

Frederick, MD(Zone 6b)


My sweet peppers are starting to turn color.... I'll be making these soon! :-)

Efland, NC(Zone 7a)'d the "substituted cider vinegar" work out (mentioned above in your 2nd post).

Could you tell any difference in flavor? Good? Bad? Harsh? Okay?


Frederick, MD(Zone 6b)

The cider vinegar batch definitely had a less delicate flavor, but I wouldn't call it harsh... my mom said she actually preferred them, but I went back to using the white wine vinegar this year. I wouldn't let a lack of white wine vinegar keep you from trying the recipe, but if you can get your hands on some I think the results are a little nicer than with the cider vinegar.

Efland, NC(Zone 7a)

Great! Thanks! (I have seedlings of "Sweet Pickle Peppers" coming along in the greenhouse already!)


Frederick, MD(Zone 6b)

Oooh, nice... those work nicely with the second recipe I posted too, for short-brined pickled (whole) peppers. I've been giving my peppers about a 10 week indoor start, so since I don't plant them out until about Memorial Day, it'll be a bit yet before I sow my seeds! 'Sweet Pickles' is just a darn cute plant, too -- I think it's as pretty as a lot of the "ornamental" peppers I've seen, and much tastier as well!

Pocahontas, TN(Zone 7b)

bumping this up .... both sound so good.

Critter have you tried using hot peppers in the recipes? I make several different hot pepper jelly/jams so ....


Frederick, MD(Zone 6b)

I've put a small whole chile or a few slices of jalopeno in the bottom of the ja for added "zing" but haven't used only hot peppers in these recipes. There's no reason it wouldn't work. But I've noticed that the heat in chile peppers gets mellowed a bit when you make jam, while one little chile can really add a lot of heat to a jar of pickles... so a jar of nothing but hot peppers might be a little intense... not a bad thing, just something to consider!

Frederick, MD(Zone 6b)

*bumping* this thread up for the 2008 pepper crop!


I should also add a link to the DG article I wrote on non-bell sweet peppers, which featured this recipe at the end:

Thumbnail by critterologist
(Laura) Olympia, WA(Zone 8a)

Refrigerator Pickles 1
3 qts water
1 qt white vinegar
1 cup pickling salt
1 bunch fresh dill
as much garlic as you want
Enough vegetable of your choice to fill up your jars.

• Combine water, vinegar, and salt.
• Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and refrigerate overnight in glass or plastic jars.
• Next day, scrub cucumbers.
• Put some dill flowers and at least 5 peeled garlic cloves into each canning jar. (I like to add peppercorns, too!)
• Pack vegetables into jar nice and tight, cover with cold brine, secure lids, and refrigerate at least 3 days.
• As you take out and devour pickles, put more cucumbers in the jar, and keep the cycle going.

Here's a picture of what's left over after the 4th.

Thumbnail by zhinu
Frederick, MD(Zone 6b)

ooh, that looks delicious! I like the way you layered the different varieties in the jar, too... pretty!

(Laura) Olympia, WA(Zone 8a)

lol... Honestly that’s just the different densities of the vegetables. I actually tried to evenly mix it so you could get to everything you wanted easily. I need to add more stuff to it, but I've been busy and haven't gotten around to it.

Plano, TX

it reminds me of the jars of gardinira?--i can't remember the name but in the pickle section of store and has little peices of cauliflower, celery, peppers, and i forget what else--sometimes i find a jar i love and sometimes it is so salty i can't even eat it--also sometimes it is oily (some add olive oil)--
thanks for posting the recipe and picture--
reminds me -have you ever had pickled hard boiled eggs? well when you use up a big jar of pickles (not sweet) put in a few eggs and wait a few days--yum

(Laura) Olympia, WA(Zone 8a)

I'd maybe cut the salt back if I were to make it again, and salts one of my addictions, so if you were to make it I'd cut the salt back. Taste it and add more if needed.

Clinton, CT(Zone 6b)

How long will Refrigerator Pickles keep?

(Laura) Olympia, WA(Zone 8a)

From the information I found it looks like 2 months, but that's a guess. If anyone has a sure answer I'd like one.

Frederick, MD(Zone 6b)

I've got some that we put up last summer, and they're still crispy! Normally, a month or two is the max and they start getting floppy, but I discovered the secret...

Frederick, MD(Zone 6b)

(not trying to keep anybody in suspense, just looking up recipe)

Before I put the sliced cukes in the jar with the brine, I use an ice brine on them, the same way Linda Ziedrich suggests for regular bread & butter and some of the other pickle recipes in Joy of Pickling. For 3-5 pounds of sliced cukes (plus a few onions or whatever), she tosses them with 1/4 cup pickling salt in a nonreactive bowl, then puts the 2 trays' worth of ice cubes on top and lets them stand 3-4 hours. Drain, removing any unmelted ice, and pack into jars, then add the brine as usual. Omit the salt in your brine recipe, since you've already added salt to the veggies.

Ozark, MO(Zone 6a)

Here's a recipe I used last summer for refrigerator (cucumber) pickles. I made six quarts and they lasted in the 'fridge all winter and through April and were still very crisp.

These were real good, but kind of harsh because of all the vinegar. This year I'm making two changes to the recipe - I'll use white wine vinegar instead of distilled white vinegar, and I'll cut the ratio of vinegar used. I think doing that will make them last a shorter time in the 'fridge instead of "indefinitely", but that's OK.
Refrigerator Pickles

Put one slice of Onion in the bottom of each quart jar, then fill the jars as tightly as possible with sliced Cucumbers.

Add to each quart jar:

½ teaspoon Turmeric
¼ teaspoon Mustard Seed
¼ teaspoon Celery Seed

In a separate container, stir together until dissolved:

1 cup Sugar
5 cups Vinegar
3 cups Water
1 cup Pickling Salt

Pour this solution into the jars on top of the Onions and Cucumbers, filling the jars.

Seal the jars and refrigerate. Will keep indefinitely.

Frederick, MD(Zone 6b)

*bumping up* for that final harvest of the season.

I just finished cutting up 4 pounds of banana pepper rings... I had a lot that had barely begun to turn color (pale yellow rather than cream), so orange and red (fully ripe) ones make up maybe half this batch. They'll be very colorful, but I do like the flavor of fully red ones better. Maybe next year will be a better harvest year for me... plants were loaded with unripe peppers at first frost!

I think the rest of the green and pale yellow ones will probably get turned into some sort of relish, with onions and hot peppers added.

Northwest, MO(Zone 5a)

I made two batches from your pickled recipe last night. Do I really need to wait 3 weeks before I can open a jar :) I want to find out how good they taste so I can decide if I want to make more. Lord knows....I have 20 pepper plants and need to do something with all the beautiful peppers I getting.

I also sliced and froze about 2 gallons of peppers in my foodsaver bags, and I should be able to dry a lot of these.

Thanks again for doing the bulk seed purchase and letting us share.

Frederick, MD(Zone 6b)

You'll get some idea of the flavor if you even just let them sit overnight. If you add a slice of hot pepper to the jar, that can take longer to flavor through, so don't assume you need to add a lot more hot pepper to the next jar unless you want really hot pickles (a slice or two per jar just adds a little zing).

I'm glad they're doing well for you!

Northwest, MO(Zone 5a)

I opened a jar yesterday...OH MY GOSH...they are great!!!!

Guess I'll be making a lot more.

Thanks so much for the recipe.


Pine City, NY

OH WOW . do these look good!!! Thanks!!

Frederick, MD(Zone 6b)

I'm glad you liked them! They're a total favorite around here, too. :-)

Midland, TX(Zone 8a)

Critter, when you say "sweet" peppers, do you mean bell peppers? I can see that any pepper you like could be substituted, but I'm not always sure what some of you cooks mean when you say peppers--there are so many varieties! Thanks for this great-sounding recipe, which I will certainly try. --pen

Frederick, MD(Zone 6b)

When I say "sweet," I simply mean "not hot," although this recipe would also make great hot pickled peppers -- I'm thinking of trying it with some Pizza Peppers, which should turn out just mildly hot.

I don't have a lot of luck with bells, so I grow mostly hybrids like Gypsy, Carmen, and banana peppers... the skinny ones slice into nice rings for pickles!

Cochise, AZ(Zone 8b)

Try a little chipotle flake in your pickles. Not enough to make them too hot just enough to add flavor.

Midland, TX(Zone 8a)

critter, I just followed the link you gave above, which I discovered after I asked the question. That's really good info. I have no room to grow edibles, but my son planted his first bed of peppers this year, and he's pretty excited about expanding it next year. I'll pass it on to him, and it bears repeating here: (thanks!)

Frederick, MD(Zone 6b)

Penn, you might try tucking a few pepper plants into your "ornamental" beds... 'Sweet Pickles' is a very pretty little plant that produces delicious little peppers!

Grammy, I like the smokey flavor of chipotle in a lot of things, but not so much in pickles.. however, if I have a ripe jalapeno, I'll add a couple of slices to the bottom of each jar, and that's probably fairly similar (chipotle peppers are ripe, smoked jalapenos, I believe)

New Port Richey, FL

sounds like a recipe I've been looking for for a long time. thanks

Frederick, MD(Zone 6b)

They're still my favorite pickle! I looked at my original post at the top just now and realized I have an update... I now use an "ice brine" before packing the peppers into jars, and they turn out a little crunchier.

Toss the pepper rings/strips with pickling salt, about 1 Tablespoon per pound of peppers. Top with ice cubes, enough to generously cover the peppers in whatever bowl you're using (I'm trying to make this adaptable to different size batches, as I often do a double or triple batch of brine.. a couple of standard ice cube trays would be plenty for a single batch).

Let stand 3-4 hours (most of the ice will melt, but they should stay chilly), then drain & rinse before packing into jars.

Omit the salt !! from the pickling liquid if you use this method.

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