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How to Pickle Chillies

Pickling chillies is the art of preserving chillies and keeping them crisp in your ornate jars. Pickling methods can be used for almost any types of chilli- from thin to thick flesh. Pickling has been a traditional technique to preserve food using acid properties to make a food resistant to the malign effects of bacteria.

Pickling chillies are usually done because people want to preserve the chillies at its original form. Unlike drying or freezing methods, pickling uses salt and vinegar, and may require a few detailed steps from the beginning.

There is no particular method to do pickling accept for the liquid solutions. However, when it is done properly, you can still taste the freshness and soft texture of chillies even after a year!
Choosing chillies. Although any type of chillies will work great for pickling, obviously it does not include the damaged ones because it may deteriorate the others during pickling process. If you want to make sliced pickled chillies, then you may need to use food processor to slice them or use a clean sterilised knife to chop.

The vinegar
You can use any types of vinegar from Sarsens to malt vinegar that you can find in a supermarket. Make sure that the vinegar contains at least 5% of acid. So, check on the label before purchasing one. If you want to add some aroma to the pickled chillies, try adding herbs in the vinegar.

Pickling salt VS table salt
Pickling salt is different from table salt. Unlike table salt, pickling salt is finely grained salt and specially manufactured without iodised property. This way, when the chillies are processed during pickling, the salt won’t create lumps. What’s more, iodised salt may affect the flavour of the pickles and leave a bitter flavour aftertaste.

The jars
Ideally, chillies for pickles are better stored in jars made out of glass with a lid. It is better to use brand new jars. To preserve chillies better, you need to clean the jars and sterilise them by soaking them in boiling water. It goes the same with the lids. Submerge the lid for a few minutes in a bowl of boiling water. If the manufacturer has particular instructions on how to sterilise the jar, you should follow it.

Soft or crisp
If you wish your pickles to be soft, then you should put the chillies in a half way boiled mixture. On the other hand, if you like crisp textured chillies, you should put the chillies into the pan after the liquid is completely boiled.

Basic pickling part 1
After you pick your chillies, wash them thoroughly with salty water. Set the chillies aside and heat a litre of white wine and add 5 tablespoons of cider vinegar. You can add 3 teaspoons of sugar until it dissolves. Wait for the mixture boils. Meanwhile, you can make a small hole on each chilli by poking the tip with a sterilised needle. Add a few bay leaves in the boiling water and turn of the stove. Add the chillies and mix them for awhile before pouring into small jars. Do not seal the jars before they cool down. Once they are cool, seal the lid and put them into the refrigerator. Leave it there for at least 2 weeks before consuming.

Basic pickling part 2
Another way to make crisp pickles from chillies is to leave the chillies in a brine of water and pickling salt for a night. The next day, rinse the chillies and poke small holes on the tip of each chilli. Meanwhile, you can boil 3 cups of vinegar and 3 cups of water and add 3 teaspoon full of pickling salt.

Put the chillies inside a jar until it is almost full and leave about 1.5 inch space from the lid. Pour the boiling mixture and leave it to cool for awhile. Remove the bubbles if there are any and store in refrigerator for at least 2 weeks before consuming.

The 2 basic steps are almost the same but it uses different type of liquid mix. Thus, you can choose whichever ingredients available in your kitchen.
The sealed jars.

Once you have sealed all the jars, submerge them in boiling water for at least 15 minutes. This trick prevents any bacteria that may have “crawl” into the jar. Make sure that the water is boiling before you put the jars inside. Bathe each jar thoroughly so that the likelihood of bacteria to grow is zero.

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Founded by Sarah Hunt in 2008, World of Chillies is an online chilli shop specialising in chilli plants, seeds, gifts, dried chillies and sauces.

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