Preserving a Peck of (Jalapeño) Peppers: 5 ways

We were blessed with a bumper crop of hot garden peppers this season, particularly jalapeños. Yesterday, we picked several pounds of peppers off a single plant!

So what do you do with so many jalapeños coming at you all at once?

I’m so glad you asked! 

A peck of (notpickled) peppers

Today I’m going to share a few of our favorite ways to preserve and use a bounty of hot peppers:

Controlling the heat

Capsaicin is the compound responsible for the spicy heat in jalapeño (and other chili peppers). It’s also their primary medicinal constituent. Capsaicin is located mainly in the placental tissue of the pepper, which is the white, membrane-like material that attaches the seeds to the inner walls of the pepper.

You can reduce the spiciness by cutting the pepper open and removing these parts. The seeds themselves may also contain some capsaicin, but their contribution to the overall spiciness is relatively minor compared to the placental tissue. Conversely, if you want to increase the heat, you can include more of the placental tissue and/or use peppers known for their high capsaicin content.

Use a spoon to scrape out the white membranes and seeds. While jalapeños have significantly less capsaicin than cayenne or habaneros, it’s still strongly advisable to wear gloves while working with them. If you don’t, you might learn first-hand just how effective capsaicin’s numbing powers can be! *

Rinsing the peppers in water can help, though capsaicin is not terribly water-soluble. It is actually hydrophobic, which means it does not readily dissolve in water. That said, the mechanical force of rinsing your peppers under a stream of running water can remove a bit more of the hot stuff.

If you really want a milder jalapeño, rub the inner membranes down with olive oil before rinsing. Rub the peppers as you rinse for maximum effect.

Easy-peasy seed removal

By the way, the easiest way to de-seed a jalapeño is to give is a light roll on the cutting board. Hear those cracking sounds? That’s the seeds and inner membranes loosening and detaching from the pepper.

Cut off the stem, and use a chopstick to dislodge the seedpod and pull it out. Trust me, this is sooo much easier than painstakingly picking seeds out of already sliced jalapeños!

* If you do wind up with capsaicin on your hands, a little milk can go a long way toward neutralizing the burn. A paste of baking soda may also help.

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Creamy Jalapeño Sauce


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Ingredients

Scale

10 fresh jalapeño peppers, stems and seeds removed

1 medium yellow onion

10 garlic cloves

1 T high-mineral salt

1/2 c Greek yogurt


Instructions

Place jalapeños in a single layer on a baking sheet and place under the broiler until the skins begin to blacken and char a bit.

When the peppers are cool enough to handle, remove jalapeño stems and slice lengthwise, using a small spoon to scrape out the seeds. For more heat, you can leave some (or all) of the seeds.

Combine all ingredients in a high-powered blender and process until smooth and creamy.

Notes

Wonderful on chicken or fish!

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Honeyed Jalapeños (aka Cowboy Candy)


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Ingredients

Scale

1820 medium jalapeño peppers, deseeded and sliced into 1/4” to 1/3″ thick wheels

2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

2 T onion, minced

1 c honey

1/2 c apple cider vinegar

clean, pint-sized mason jar


Instructions

  1. Deseed and slice jalapeños into 1/4″ to 1/3″ slices. They will shrink a bit as they cook, so err on the side of slightly thicker than you’d like them to be in the end.
  2. Place them in a colander and give them a good rinse to wash away some of the capsaicin unless you want very spicy candied jalapeños.
  3. Finely mince the onions and garlic. You’re aiming for about 2 to 3 tablespoons of total minced onion/garlic.
  4. In a heavy bottomed saucepan, add the apple cider vinegar and honey, whisking to combine. Over medium heat, bring the honey/vinegar mixture to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes.
  5. Stir in the onions, garlic and jalapeño slices. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Using a slotted spoon, scoop out the jalapeños from the simmering liquid and transfer them to your clean pint mason jar.
  7. Crank up the heat up once more and bring the honey/vinegar to a rapid boil for (yet another) 5 minutes.
  8. Pour hot honey/vinegar mixture over your jalapeños. Allow to cool before adding a lid and transferring to the refrigerator. Allow to chill overnight before using.

Notes

Makes 1 pint

Fair warning, these are spicy! If you prefer less heat, remove as many of the seeds as possible.

Pro tip: Once you’ve used the candied jalapeños, the remaining sauce makes a killer addition to a spicy salad dressing!

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Jalapeño Hot Honey


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Ingredients

fresh jalapeños, finely chopped/minced

raw, unfiltered, local-to-you honey

mason jar


Instructions

  1. Fill a pint (or quart) sized mason jar about 1/2 full of chopped jalapeños. You can chop them by hand or pulse them in the food processor; a mechanical hand chopper tool works well too! There is no need to remove the seeds.
  2. Cover with honey until jar is full and the jalapeños are fully submerged. If honey is too solid to pour, gently heat it by placing it in a warm water bath. Take care not to heat the honey beyond about 110F, or you risk destroying its beneficial enzymes and microbes.
  3. Secure the jar’s lid, and place in a sunny windowsill to ferment. It’s not a bad idea to place it on a plate *just in case* the ferment gets overly enthusiastic. I’ve only had it happen with jalapeño honey once, but every so often, a ferment will try to escape its jar.
  4. Flip the jar onto its lid once a day or so. This ensures that the jalapeños stay submerged under the honey. You do not want them exposed to any oxygen or you risk contamination and bacteria growth.
  5. Ferment for 2-3 weeks, allowing plenty of time for the flavor to extract into the honey and the microbes to work their magic.
  6. When the time is up, use a fine mesh strainer to strain out the jalapeños. The honey will now be a bit thinner, thanks to the jalapeño juices.
  7. Transfer to a clean glass jar with an airtight lid. Your fermented honey is shelf stable, but storing in a cool location out of direct sunlight will maximize its lifespan. ♥
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Jalapeño Salt


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Ingredients

Scale

1 part jalapeños, deseeded (or sub any spicy pepper)

3 to 4 parts high-mineral salt


Instructions

  1. Slice jalapeños lengthwise and use a spoon to gently scrap out the seeds. Roughly chop the deseeded jalapeños, filling a measuring cup as you go so you have a (rough) idea of how much you have.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, combine 1 part jalapeños with 3 parts salt. Process until jalapeños and salt are thoroughly blended and a mellow shade of green. If your jalapeños were extra juicy and you ended up with more of a paste, then add an additional 1 part salt to the food processor and pulse to combine.
  3. Transfer the jalapeño-salt mixture to a baking tray with a rim (such as a jelly roll pan) lined with parchment, wax paper or a silicone baking mat. Spread in a thin layer and loosely cover. Allow it to dry for 3 to 4 days until thoroughly dried and brittle. Jalapeños are pretty juicy, so this process may take a bit longer, depending on your home’s ambient temperature and humidity.
  4. Break off chunks of the dried jalapeño salt and return to the food processor. Process once more to powder the herbal salt.
  5. Transfer to a clean mason jar or glass shaker with an airtight lid. Label the container and store in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Properly stored herbal salts should last a year or longer, depending on the herbs used and storage conditions.
  6. Use 1:1 for salt in recipes and on food.

Notes

Use high-quality, non-iodized mineral salt such as Real Salt or pink Himalayan. Iodized table salt may introduce unwanted flavors and additives.

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Easy Frozen Jalapeños


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Ingredients

jalapeños


Instructions

  1. Slice jalapeños into wheels or remove the stem and slice them lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds with a small spoon.
  2. Transfer to a mason jar, freezer baggie or (better yet) a vacuum seal bag. Peppers freeze well; there is no need to blanch them.
  3. Freeze until needed.
  4. That’s it.

Notes

Your peppers will last much longer without freezer burn if you remove as much air from the baggie or jar as possible. If using a mason jar, I highly recommend getting a vacuum sealer gadget designed to pull the air out of mason jars. I own, love and frequently use this one.

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The content on redheadedherbalist.com is for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Claims made on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.

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