Sweet pickled Jesus these are hot!! As part of the course I’m taking on fermentation, I had to make some pickled vegetables this week and since I like to breathe fire I chose jalapeños. They were super easy to make, just make sure you wear protective gloves and/or wash your hands extremely-incredibly thoroughly and DO NOT wear contacts because you’ll eventually have to take them out and that jalapeño juice is stubborn and will make your eyes burn long after you’ve soaped up. Ask me how I know.
All you have to do is stuff as much of your chosen vegetable in a jar as possible, along with whatever spices you want to flavor it with (I threw in a few chopped garlic cloves), then fill it with a salt brine (unchlorinated water + sea salt) until the vegetables are covered. Then you have to create a sort of seal at the top, which I did with the peppers by cutting off the tops (removing the stem, though you can keep them on if you have room) and arranging four of them on top of the slices. If they stick up a little bit that’s okay, when you close the jar it’ll all get pushed down – and brine will come spewing out so keep a towel close by.
It’s about 70 degrees in my apartment and to get the taste I like it took 5 days sitting on the counter. Depending on the vegetable it should take at least 3 days. During this time, lactic acid bacteria will grow and ferment the veggies, giving us a good dose of powerful probiotics that help balance your microbiome and aid in digestion. The capsaicin in these peppers also helps improve circulation.
Once you’re ready to taste your ferment, open it in the sink (and throw on those protective gloves) because carbonation may have developed and the brine will bubble up upon opening.
I think fermentation made these babies way spicier than they are normally. I like to snack on them plain when I really want that face-melting feeling, or you can toss ’em on top of some chili, or in burritos, wherever you like. Just avoid cooking them or else you’ll kill all that live bacteria you just spent the last few days growing!