When you are a chilli head like me and have 30+ chilli plants in your garden, then there will be a moment when you have more chillies than you can eat fresh. So the obvious question arises: what to do with the other chillies before they start to perish?
There are ofcourse a few options such as: drying them, making chilli powders, making hot sauses or sambals, preserving them in oil, ...
However today we will pickle them. The great thing about pickling is that you don't need fancy equipment and that it can be done in even the tiniest kitchen. It will give your chillies a lot of flavour and a very long shelve life.
Let's get on with it in the next step!
Step 1: What Do You Need to Pickle Yor Chillies?
Here is a list of ingredients and other stuff that you will need:
- Chillies (obviously!!), I used Hot Paper Lanterns
- A few cloves of garlic
- Dried spices: allspice berries, mustard seeds, peppercorns, cardamom pods, fenugreek seeds
- A glass jar with a well closing lid
- A small pan
"There are no quantities in the list!", I hear you shout. Thats correct indeed. I don't add quantities here as it all depends on how much chillis you have, how big your jar is and you own taste. All will become clear in further steps.
About the jar: You don't need a fancy perserving or pickling jar to be able to pickle you own vegtables. Any old glass jar with a well closing lid will do. Make sure that it is clean and that the lid can hold a vacuum inside the jar.
Step 2: Slice and Dice
As it says in the title of this step: slice up you chillies and garlic. How fine you slice your chillies is up to you. The finer you slice them the sooner they will be ready to eat. If you want to do a quick job by chopping them into big chunks, then go ahead as it will be fine too. It will only take some more waiting time before you can eat them.
Step 3: Stuff It.
Make sure that your jar is clean and dry to start with. It's always a good idea to rince it with boiling hot water. If you want to be sure that your jar is sterile, you can boil it and its lid for five minutes in water and the let them drip out.
Now start to layer you ingredrients in your jar:
- Start with a layer of chillies. Make it about 1 inch thick.
- On top of it add a halve (or a whole if you like your garlic) clove of garlic in slices.
- Then add the spices: about 3 to 4 allspice berries, about 10 peppercorns, 2 to 3 cardamom pods, half a teaspoon of mustard seeds and a quarter teaspoon of fenugreek seeds.
- Then add a new layer of chillies and repeat the layering until your jar is full.
Step 4: Boil It.
When your jar is full with the chillies and spices, you need to fill all the remaining space with vinegar.
It will take some guestimation from your side about how much vinegar you'll need to boil until everything in the jar is covered with it. I will, as a rule of thumb boil, 3/4 of the total volume of your jar. It is most of the times a little bit to much but that's better than having to boil some more.
When the vinegar boils, you pour it in the jar until it is just a few mm away from the rim. Then you close the jar and put it upside down on it's lid to cool down. If everything went well it should create a vacuum inside the jar.
Step 5: Wait for It!
You can store your pickled chillies in the cellar, fridge or in your pantry. But you should give them time to soak in the vinegar and to take up the aromas of the garlic and spices. Four to six weeks will do fine but leave them for a few months if you want maximum flavour. Your patience will be rewarded!