The Slowcook at Spydog Farm The Slowcook at Spydog Farm

Pickled Banana Peppers

September 1st, 2009 · 14 Comments · Posted in garden

How do you like your peppers pickled?

How do you like your peppers pickled?

Here’s a fond memory from childhood: the open jar of pickled banana peppers in the refrigerator. I liked the sweet, tangy flavor. But there was always a question hanging over these peppers: How, exactly, were you supposed to eat them? They were on the large size. Were you supposed to cut them up? Or just start on one end and keep noshing till you got to the other end?

The proper method of approaching a banana peppers seems to be a perpetual mystery. Nevertheless, I was glad to notice that our friend Meredith had planted some when she came to share our garden space. Meredith moved away mid-season, so I’ve been watching her banana peppers thrive. There were lots of them hanging from just a few plants, and they were getting bigger and bigger, casting a delicious yellow glow from their corner of the garden.

I figured it was time to harvest them before they started falling to the ground. I wanted to recreate the sweet banana peppers of my youth. Then I realized that other than pouring some vinegar over a jar of jalapenos, I’ve never really pickled peppers before. I cruised through my library and the internet and settled on a simple recipe involving distilled vinegar, sugar, mustard seed and celery seed.

It’s at times like these that I fear I am missing out on the best pickling recipe in the world. Somehow it is eluding meand I don’t even know it. But the peppers cannot wait any longer. As you see from the picture, I did not have quite enough to fill two quart jars, so I included some of the Hatch peppers that our friend Ben brought back from New Mexico. They are now in various stages of ripeness and no doubt will add more heat to my pickles than I remember. But that’s a simple fact of living out of the garden: you use what you have.

To pickle these peppers, procede as follows: Pack two clean, hot quart jars with about 2 dozen banana peppers, stems trimmed. Place some with the stems on the bottom, others packed with stems pointing up. If some are too long, just cut them down to size. Meanwhile, in a non-reactive pan, bring to a boil 3 cups distilled white vinegar, 1 cup granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon mustard seed and 1 teaspoon celery seed. Stir occasionally and when the sugar is completely dissolved, pour the brine over the peppers, leaving about 1/2 inch headroom at the top of the jars.

Seal the jars using fresh lids and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Place the peppers in your pantry at least one month before using.

But perhaps you have a genius recipe for pickled banana peppers that is much better. Would you care to share it? Please do.

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  • Sylvie

    I really like Sweet Banana: I plant them every year. Fast producing, prolific, care free… what else is there to ask.

    I roast, fry, freeze, grill them and occasionally pickle them. Either rings, or whole (I cut off the stem end). I despise sugar in pickles, so I don’t use any, just straight 5% cider vinegar and spices. An ever changing mix. then 10 minutes for pints in the boiling water bath.
    The rings are particularly good on top of winter fajitas.

  • Cyndy

    No pickled pepper recipe, but if you still have any Hatch chiles left, this is our (low carb) standby. (I have 60 lbs of it frozen and will probably get another 30 lbs from a farm down the road this week. We use it daily in many different things) Another of our faves is apple-green chile crisp.


    10 chopped Hatch green chiles
    8 ounces cheese, shredded (monterey jack, chedder, colby, whatever is on hand)
    4 eggs
    1/2 cup heavy cream
    1/2 teaspoon salt

    In a greased 1 1/2 to 2 quart casserole, layer half of the cheese and half of the chiles; repeat the layers. Whisk the eggs, cream, and salt well; pour over the chiles. Bake at 350º 45-50 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean and the top is slightly puffed. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

    Makes 4-6 servings
    Can be frozen
    Even better the next day!

    Per 1/4 Recipe: 416 Calories; 35g Fat; 22g Protein; 5g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 4g Net Carbs

  • Ed Bruske

    Sylvie, I shouldn’t be eating sugar at all, but some of our favorite pickle recipes are sweet and sour. I’m thinking of the sweet green tomato pickles and the old-fashioned bread and butter pickles. And we love our green tomato and apple chutney. It must be a matter of taste. What are your favorite pickling spices?

    Cyndy, that sounds great. So you don’t remove the skins from the peppers at all?

  • Cyndy

    When I buy the peppers, they are roasted at the farm. This time of year there are roasters all over town, even at the Walmart. The smell is heavenly!

    I freeze them with the roasted skins still on, and then peel later. Some people peel them first and then freeze them.
    If your’s aren’t roasted, you can do it several ways. The easiest way I have found is to roast them under the broiler. The skins will blacken and pop. Turn over and let the underside blacken too. Then, I have found it’s easiest to wrap them in a moist towel and put in the fridge overnight and peel when they have cooled. Putting them in the moist towel steams them and the peels will loosen.

    Other people will roast on their outside grill until the skins are blackened, and some will roast on the gas flame on their stove.

    Green chile skins are too tough to try eating unless you eat the chile raw .

    One more thing, DO NOT put the peels down a garbage disposal. They will stick to the sides of your pipes and you’ll have to play plumber.

  • Ed Bruske

    Cyndy, I’m blown away that we’ve just discovered yet another corner of the food world we had no idea existed–the Hatch chili culture. Maybe I was the only one who didn’t get that memo. I want to know more about how this love affair with a chili pepper got started. They really roast them at the Wal-Mart?

  • Cyndy

    Yes, they really do roast them at WalMart. Every grocery store here roasts them. There was a photo in today’s paper of the roasting at a local Save Mart, but I can’t find the photo online.
    There are some you tube videos of chile being roasted. I searched youtube with “roasting hatch chiles” and found enough to keep you busy for a while.
    They are trying to get the memo out. It really is a grand time of year when the chile harvest comes in.
    Here is the article in today’s paper There has been an article about chile, complete with a great photo, almost everyday for the past 2 weeks.
    This is a very informative site about the upcoming Hatch Chile Festival this weekend.
    And there is actually a Chile Pepper Institute
    That should get you started!

  • Cyndy

    Oh, I forgot to mention, I bought about 30 lbs of pork loin today so I will be canning quarts of green chile pork stew for at least the next 2 days. Next up will be beef stew meat. Both are very versatile. Good in a bowl, in burritoes (yes, you can get low carb flour tortillas here) and excellent on top of lettuce.
    When I lived in Michigan I either ordered green chile to be shipped online, (expensive) or timed my vacation to NM at harvest time. That’s how important it is!

  • Carol Beaudry

    can I put fresh banana peppers in the brine of a jar of banana pepper rings I purchased at the store without any processing. Just cut up the fresh peppers and let them sit in the jar of store bought peppers, or is this dangerous? thanks for your help.

  • winnie

    Oh, Ed, you’ve got to get down to Santa Fe/Taos in October! The Hatch chilies are being roasted on the streets everywhere and the scent is so wonderfully sensuous. The roasters are large drum shaped affairs with propane burners. The drums rotate to keep the chilies from burning. Usually they’re sold by the gallon bag or, if you have space in your freezer, the bushel. Ristras of drying chilies are sold at roadside stands, the fall beans are for sale and it’s just a great time if you’re big on Southwest foods. I lived in Denver and did archaeological work and could get my vacations in the fall when the tourists had left. It was great. Now I’m in Tidewater VA – has its good points (like the ocean), but sometimes I think I didn’t trade up.

  • Ed Bruske

    I’ve heard of the Hatch chilies, Winnie. But I have a sneaking suspicion I will never get down to Santa Fe to enjoy them. Sadly, we don’t go to Mexico any more either because of all the troubles there. But that should not prevent anyone from growing the peppers they like and roasting (or drying) them at home.

  • tony pace

    My mom always canned her banana and cherry peppers using a sterilized jar. Place two tablespoons salt in bottom of jar, added peppers, then the distilled white vinegar. Sealed the jars and then processed as you did in bathe of boiling water.

  • Rose Swain

    I’m not sure about the sugar part? I’m wanting them to be close to the pepper rings you buy in the store. I was going to use my dill pickle recipe but I’d have dill n garlic floating around. What do I do? I’m so hoping to hear from you soon please. Let me know what effect the sugar has? Thank you

  • Ed Bruske

    Sorry, I don’t have any guidance for you except to keep looking for a recipe closer to what you want.

  • Ed Adams

    Must use crisper(calciul chloride) and olive oil. If you dont try it you are missing the real thing