This age-old recipe for preserving spicy peppers in vinegar, handed down from the past, requires only two ingredients: spicy peppers and plain, cold vinegar.
These pickled hot peppers can last for years in jars and serve as a flavorful addition to soups and stews.
The recipe is part of my canning collection. If you like this recipe, you might also like this article about How To Salt Preserve Herbs, where I show you a great technique to preserve beautiful dill or other herbs for the cold season.
Also, this Red Peppers in Mustard Sauce recipe is a great way to preserve red peppers and serve them with roasted meats in winter.
To clarify from the beginning, this particular recipe for preserving peppers is meant for spicy peppers that serve as condiments for winter soups and stews. It is NOT intended for bell peppers, cauliflower, carrots, beans, or cucumbers. If these peppers aren't meant for condiment use, you might need to seek other preservation methods, as this recipe might not suit your needs.
When is the right time to can these hot peppers
The right time to can hot peppers in the U.S. varies by region, as it largely depends on the local climate and growing season. The Midwest and Northeast typically start canning from late August to October, benefiting from slightly longer growing seasons.
In contrast, Southern states with warmer climates, such as Texas and Florida, can begin as early as July and extend through November. The West Coast and the mountain states, like Colorado, generally sees canning from August to October.
Preserving these spicy peppers in vinegar is one of the most straightforward recipes for canning. Its simplicity requires almost no instructions. It is a time-honored method of preserving these peppers for winter use, adding a kick to soups and stews.
🌶️ What kinds of peppers are suitable for this simple recipe?
There's a myriad of spicy peppers suitable for this recipe. I've listed a few:
Jalapeno pepper, Fresno chili pepper (not the Fresno Bell pepper), Serrano pepper, Habanero pepper, Cayenne pepper, Thai (Bird's eye chili peppers), Aleppo peppers, Shishito peppers, Tabasco peppers, Ghost peppers, Hungarian Wax peppers, Dutch Red chili peppers, Peri-Peri peppers, and Scotch Bonnet peppers.
The jars don't require a water bath, as vinegar effectively eliminates botulism. MAke sure that the vinegar you use has a minimum of 5% acetic acid.
I follow this process every autumn to preserve spicy peppers. For those who can handle the heat, these peppers are a fantastic addition to any soup or stew, like this traditional Saxon potato tarragon soup, during winter.
Stored properly, the preserved peppers can last for years on the shelves unless consumed within a season. The vibrant and colorful jars make great holiday gifts for family and friends.
Several readers inquired about the preservation process for this easy recipe.
- Start by ensuring the jars are clean. Wash them with warm water and soap or run them through a dishwasher cycle. Sterilize them thoroughly. Here is a link explaining the sterilization process.
- When sterilizing lids, avoid placing them with the jars in the same pot. I usually clean them with warm water and soap, dry them well, and then submerge them in boiling water for at least 2 minutes.
- If any lids seem old or rusty, replace them. While recent guidelines no longer recommend boiling lids, I suggest submerging them in hot water for a few minutes before use for added safety. (Refer to this link for further guidance.)
- The peppers and their stems should be fully covered with vinegar. Use vinegar with at least 5% acidity. Do not dilute the vinegar.
- Vinegar effectively combats botulism, so it's crucial to follow the recipe accurately.
- The peppers should be washed and cleaned with their stems left intact. While you can trim the stems, there's no need to remove them completely.
Common Queries From Readers:
Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions:
No, the jars do not need either process, as the vinegar prevents fermentation. The peppers can be preserved for years without any issues. Simply sterilize the jars before filling them.
When I sterilize the lids, I do not put them together with the jars. I clean them in warm water with soap and dry them well, then I boil some water and add them for the last 2 minutes to sit in that hot water.
The new guideline is not even to boil the lids, but for my peace of mind, I think you should place them in hot water for at least a few minutes before you use them. (Here is the link for that: https://www.freshpreserving.com/canning-lids-101.html).
Old or rusty lids should be replaced for better results.
The peppers and their stems should be completely submerged in vinegar.
No, it doesn’t matter. Just ensure all peppers are submerged in vinegar.
No, the vinegar isn't heated.
No, store them in a cool pantry, cellar, or unheated basement.
This is a canning method, not quick pickling. I do not recommend it. You would end up with different stages of the pickling process as you keep adding peppers to a jar with older peppers already marinating inside.
You also create a great environment for bacteria to develop because you keep opening the sterilized jar to add more peppers.
Solution: I would look for a smaller jar to preserve a small batch of peppers or find other ways to preserve just a few of them (you could dry or freeze them, for example).
Any vinegar that has 5% acidity or more can be used.
You can, but I do not recommend it. Your cauliflower and carrots will be very spicy as they will take the taste of the peppers. I would keep the recipe as it is.
They will not float if you put them right next to each other and as many as they fit without breaking them. Pack them tightly without crushing them.
Adding extra ingredients will change the recipe. Please find a recipe that includes these additions. No, you do not need to boil anything.
Follow the recipe, please. It will tell you exactly what you need to do.
If it's not already on the site, then it's not available.
Yes, opened jars should be refrigerated. Unused jars can be stored in a cool pantry. They can last a long time.
Vinegar is a great preservative. However, I throw them away in the summer if the peppers end up sitting in the fridge for a few months. I make a new batch when the hot peppers are available at the Farmers Market.
This recipe differs from traditional canning where jars make a 'pop' sound upon opening. Instead of hot water bath processing, we use cold vinegar, so the jars don't seal in the same way.
However, the vinegar preserves the peppers for years without needing a vacuum seal. Just ensure your jars are clean and closed tightly; your peppers will remain well-preserved, adding heat to dishes for years, even without the 'pop'.
What to serve with these peppers
Complement these peppers with these hearty soups and stews:
Interested in more preservation recipes?
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Canning Hot Peppers in Vinegar - Easy Recipe
- 1 pound hot peppers
- 14 ounces white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar with at least 5% or more acidity
- sterilized jars and lids
- Clean the jars. The jars need to be sterilized by boiling them for 10 minutes in a pot of water on the stove.
- Wash and clean the hot peppers. Remove leaves, dirt and any bad peppers.
- When the sterilizing time is up, remove and drain hot sterilized jars one at a time.
- Fill and pack the jars with peppers, as many as they fit tight inside.
- Pour vinegar over them to fill up the jars. Add lids, and tighten screw bands.
- The peppers need to sit in vinegar for at least one month before they are ready to be consumed.
- Great with soups or as a condiment in stews. They last in a cool place for years.