Preserving the Harvest: Sweet Pickled Peppers

This is the latest in a series of posts that I’m doing about preserving the vegetables and fruits we grow at Happy Acres.

Pickling is a popular and traditional method of preserving peppers and other fruits and vegetables for later use. Some recipes call for processing the peppers in a hot water bath so they can be stored at room temperature, but I find that gives them a cooked taste and prefer to keep them under refrigeration instead. The pickled peppers keep for a long time when kept refrigerated, and make a tasty addition to salads, sandwiches and other dishes. We like to use them as topping for pizza, where they add flavor and a bit of heat if made from hot peppers. I’ve been pickling them for several years now, and today I want to share my recipe.

pickled peppers

I’ve pickled both sweet peppers and hot peppers using this method, and both turned out well. The peppers can either be green or ripe, but it’s best to work with fresh and firm peppers that don’t have any signs of disease or rot. I like to cut the peppers in half first, and remove the seeds and membrane. If I’m using hot peppers, I wear nitrile gloves to protect myself from the capsaicin that makes the peppers hot.

seeding the pepper

Aji Rico peppers after seeding

The first step in the process involves an overnight soak in a 10% salt solution. That firms up the peppers a bit, and draws out some moisture. It also reduces the heat level of the hot peppers if using them. After soaking in the salt water solution for 8-12 hours, I drain the peppers in a colander. Then I rinse them in tap water to remove any excess salt and drain well again.

soaking peppers in brine

rinsing and draining peppers

Next, I make a sweet brine using sugar, vinegar and water. I heat the brine just enough to help dissolve the sugar, but not to the boiling point. I’ve seen recipes that call for cooking the peppers briefly in the brine, but I’ve not found that necessary since we are not going to can the peppers and we want to preserve the fresh taste and texture as much as possible. Finally, I pack the peppers in a glass jar, pour in the sweet brine to cover, and store the pickled peppers in the refrigerator. You can add a clove or two of garlic to add a bit of extra flavor at this point if you like. For best flavor, you should wait at least a week before eating them to let the peppers absorb the sweet brine, though you can always sneak a taste or two if you can’t wait! My method does not result in a shelf-stable product, so refrigeration is a must. They keep this way for several months without losing quality.

jar of pickled peppers

jar of pickled peppers

Sweet Pickled Peppers Print This Recipe Print This Recipe
A Happy Acres creation

sweet or hot peppers, cut in half and seeded
16 ounces water
3 tbsp fine sea salt

sweet brine:
1-1/2 cups white wine vinegar (or rice vinegar)
1-1/4 cups sugar
1 cup water

1. Prepare peppers, place in glass or other non-reactive bowl.

2. Mix salt and water, pour over peppers. Weight down peppers with plate or saucer to keep them under the liquid. Let sit for 8-12 hours (or overnight)

3. Mix vinegar with sugar and water in microwave safe glass container. Heat until warm enough to dissolve sugar.

4. Pack peppers in glass jar, pour in sweet brine solution to cover.

5. Store pickled peppers in refrigerator


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Harvest Monday September 25, 2023

It’s time once again for Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. The weather is beginning to get a bit cooler of late, just in time for the autumnal equinox. The mornings have been quite pleasant here, and there’s been no rush to get outside to beat the heat. The daytime temps are still warm though, and the summer crops continue to come in for us here. It hasn’t been the greatest year for beans or peppers, but I got some of both last week.

late September harvest

The mildly hot Aji Rico peppers are one of my favorites for using in a variety of ways. I’ve used them for a couple of batches of hot sauce, and others have been pickled in a sweet brine for later use. Those are one of my favorite additions to pizza, and they also are useful for salads and other dishes.

Aji Rico peppers

The Peppadew and Sugar Rush peppers are coming in little by little, and I have been pickling the Peppadews while using the Sugar Rush Peach in hot sauces.

Peppadew and Sugar Rush Peach peppers

I used a couple of the Sugar Rush Peach peppers to have another go at a pineapple hot sauce. I based this creation on a HiSpice Pineapple hot sauce I bought on Maui earlier this year, which combined Maui Gold pineapple with Habanero peppers, onion, garlic, apple cider vinegar, and honey. My pineapple came from the grocery store and no doubt lacked the sweet flavor of the Maui pineapples, but it worked well in the hot sauce. After whirring up the ingredients in the blender, I strained the mix through a fine mesh strainer, pressing to get as much liquid out as possible. This batch turned out just about right for my taste buds, with a pleasing blend of sweet, tangy and spicy. I want to try another batch soon using some yellow jalapenos as soon as they are ripe.

pineapple hot sauces

It has been a great year for tomatoes though, and I have now harvested right at 175 pounds of them. We got a bit less than 100 pounds last year, so this has been a big improvement in yield from a fewer number of plants. I got several pounds of slicing types last week, and while the size is getting smaller the taste is still quite good.

slicing tomatoes

Another morning harvest included Juliet and Andiamo tomatoes along with some mature Centercut squashes. The paste tomatoes are about done for but these two varieties gave us a decent late harvest of fruit.

another September harvest

I’m growing Andiamo tomatoes here for the first time, and back in August I wrote them off as being not very productive. That first harvest was small, and those tomatoes did not have the classic San Marzano shape as promised in the catalog listing. However, later harvests were bigger and this last one weighed in at three pounds of tomatoes that more closely resemble a San Marzano shape. So far the total haul of Andiamo has been bigger than Granadero, and not quite as much as the Zenzei variety I am also growing for the first time. I cooked up the Andiamo tomatoes Saturday night for a batch of Bolognese sauce, and the result was thick and full of flavor. Andiamo has earned a place in next year’s garden, along with Zenzei and Granadero.

Andiamo tomatoes

In non-harvest news, the hardy hibiscus plants are still putting on a show for us. Most of the plants are only one or two years old, and should give even bigger displays of flowers as the plants grow into their mature sizes. Midnight Marvel and Holy Grail are two of the red flowered hibiscus we have planted in our Sun Garden, and the large blooms rise above most of the other shorter perennials in that bed. The blooms only last for a day, but the succession of flowers has been lighting up that corner of the garden for weeks now.

hibiscus Midnight Marvel

hibiscus Holy Grail

Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest you want to share, add your name and blog link to Mr Linky below. And please check out what everyone is harvesting!


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Harvest Monday September 18, 2023

It’s time once again for Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. Harvests here are slowing down, and the lack of rain is partly to blame. I’ve been watering the sweet potatoes and the fall greens, but everything else is on its own at this point late in the season.  Despite dry conditions, I got a good haul of the Turkey Craw pole beans last week, right at three pounds of them.

Mid September harvest

Turkey Craw beans are triple purpose beans, useful as snap beans, fresh shell beans and as dried beans. Many of these I picked were at the shelling stage, since I had purposely left them on to mature for that purpose. I froze quite a few of these for later use. They make a tasty and nutritional addition to winter soups, or for cooking on their own as a side dish for that matter.

Turkey Craw beans

dried Turkey Craw beans

Despite the dry conditions, the tomatoes aren’t completely done for yet, and last week I got a nice selection of paste types and slicers plus a few of the small fruited ones. I also continue to get modest amounts of hot peppers, enough to make another couple of batches of hot sauce and to pickle a few.

September tomatoes

I got a few more of the Aji Rico peppers last week. This F1 hybrid variety is a 2017 AAS Winner and has quickly become one of my favorite peppers. I will use them for a mixed Aji hot sauce that will include Sugar Rush Peach and some Rainforest peppers that were a freebie gift from one of my seed company orders.  I’ve also pickled some of the Aji Rico peppers from earlier harvests, along with the shy-producing Peppadew variety.

Aji Rico peppers

I’ve been making hot sauces as the peppers are available. I make most all of my sauces with ripe peppers, so I have to accumulate enough peppers to make a batch. I also ferment most of the peppers first, which I think adds a lot of flavor plus it helps the sauces keep for a longer period of time. Last week I experimented with a pineapple hot sauce, using mostly fresh Sugar Rush Peach peppers plus a small red jalapeno pepper. I bought a pineapple hot sauce at a farmers market on Maui earlier this year, and I am basing my recipe on their ingredients, which used habanero peppers and onion along with the pineapple. Theirs was a bit hot for my tastes, but I will need to do more experimenting to get the taste and consistency just right for my own version. I also made a chunky chili garlic sauce last week, using my No-Rooster Chili Garlic Sauce recipe.

hot sauces

Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest you want to share, add your name and blog link to Mr Linky below. And please check out what everyone is harvesting!



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Harvest Monday September 11, 2023

It’s time once again for Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. Last week’s harvests featured tomatoes, beans and hot peppers plus one lone eggplant. It’s been a good year here for tomatoes, and we have been enjoying them every way possible. We did another taste-test of three of the slicing tomatoes last week, all three of which are on my favorites list.

September tomato harvest

It’s my third year growing the striped beefsteak tomato Benevento, an Artisan Seeds introduction. I think it has great flavor and as a bonus it has an extended shelf life both on and off the vine. Apparently the birdies like it too, since a couple of fruits in this harvest seemed to have been pecked on. I cut around any bad spots and ate the rest of the tomato, since I am not one to waste food – especially a good tasting tomato!

Benevento tomato

My wife and I did a tasting one day for lunch that included Purple Zebra, Garden Treasure and Benevento. The Garden Treasure remains her favorite, but I could happily eat any one (or all) of the three every day during tomato season.

tasting Purple Zebra, Garden Treasure and Benevento tomatoes

It’s been a bust so far for the sweet peppers, but the hot ones are ripening now. I got enough jalapenos to start another batch of hot sauce, and this lot included Lemon Spice, Pumpkin Spice, Emerald Fire and Early Flame. I also brought in Aji Rico, Aji Delight and Sugar Rush Peach along with an assortment of pole beans.

hot peppers and beans

I’m growing Emerald Fire and Early Flame jalapenos again this year, and I can usually count on them to make lots of medium hot peppers. I also got more of the Pot-a-peno and San Joaquin jalapenos last week from container grown plants.

Emerald Fire(L) and Early Flame(R) jalapeno peppers

I wear gloves when handling hot peppers, and generally remove the seeds before adding salt to start the fermentation process. The whole process is described here in Fermented Pepper Mash. I will likely let this batch ferment for about a week before turning into a thin, Tabasco style hot sauce.

peppers for fermenting

I’m planning to pickle the Aji Delight peppers, and use the Aji Rico and Sugar Rush Peach peppers to make hot sauce.

Aji Rico(L) and Aji Delight(R) peppers

The weeds have taken over much of the Wild Garden ever since I got sick with pneumonia, but the hardy hibiscus are rising above the mess and still blooming.

Hardy Hibiscus

This spring we set out a Clematis vine near our front porch, and it has really taken off. It is doing well for the first year, and it should be a good addition to our lineup of perennial flowers and shrubs.

Clematis blooms

Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest you want to share, add your name and blog link to Mr Linky below. And please check out what everyone is harvesting!



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Harvest Monday September 4, 2023

It’s time once again for Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. Tomato season is slowly winding down here, but they are still keeping me busy with harvesting and processing them. I’ve harvested right at 150 pounds so far this year, which is about 50% more than last year.  I also got a big haul of eggplants last week, and I picked a few pole beans and hot peppers to add to the mix.

late August harvest

I’m growing Rose beans for the second year now. This heirloom from the Rose family in Kentucky has large tender pods and lovely blue speckled beans inside when mature.

heirloom Rose beans

I also got several more pounds of La Roma III tomatoes from my two plants. This short-vine determinate variety has done great for me this year, and surely earned a spot in next year’s garden.

La Roma III tomatoes

I used a couple of the eggplants to make Baba Ganoush one day for lunch. I cut the eggplants in half, then grilled them until a bit charred on top but still soft inside. I let them cool, then scooped out the flesh and mashed with a fork. I added tahini, olive oil, garlic and a bit of chopped flat leaf parsley from the garden and seasoned to taste. Sprinkled with a little paprika on top and served with toasted pita bread, it made for a tasty side dish.

Baba Ganoush

The first September harvest had me bringing in more of the same, with lots of tomatoes, Lazy Wife pole beans, hot peppers and a mature Centercut squash. I also harvested some slicing tomatoes that day which were camera shy.

early September harvest

Zenzei tomato is a 2023 AAS Winner that has done very well this year. They have outproduced Granadero, which is has been my favorite vining paste tomato for years. The fruits are large and meaty, and cook up into a tasty sauce. So far I have had no issues with disease, splitting or blossom end rot. Looks like I might have a new favorite with Zenzei!

Zenzei tomatoes

I made the first two batches of 2023 hot sauce last week. One bottle used Fresno peppers (Hernandez and Flaming Flare) while the other one used jalapenos plus a few Sugar Rush Peach peppers. For both sauces I fermented the peppers for one week with 5% salt added, then followed my basic recipe for a Tabasco-style thin hot sauce. You can read more about the fermenting process here: Fermented Pepper Mash.

hot sauces

I also got a big harvest of two long time favorite tomatoes, Health Kick and Juliet. Both of these have kept us well-supplied this year.

Health Kick and Juliet tomatoes

Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest you want to share, add your name and blog link to Mr Linky below. And please check out what everyone is harvesting!


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