Pickle it and I'll eat it! I'm not just talking about the wonderful array of cucumber pickles out there, though I love them all. Pickled eggs, the whole array of veggies and even those things with that big "ewww" factor, I love it.
I think the reason I love pickled food is that it is about transformation. Taking something, maintaining what it is, but making it something else, something that might even be better. I like to think that my own transformation through weight loss and leading a healthy life style has had the same effect on me. Pickled vegetables are a wonderful option when you are looking for something a little different from all those raw veggies you have been snacking on.
All that said, one of my favorite flavor combinations is sweet and heat and I couldn't wait to try pickling a combination of peppers in a sweet pickling brine. I used a combination of jalapeño, cayenne, and banana peppers. I removed the seeds from the banana and jalapeno peppers, but left them in the cayenne to try and find that happy medium between sweet and heat.
I was very happy with how they came out. They are perfect for any relish try or as a condiment. I used them as a topping for some lean beef burgers I made recently.
Sweet Hot Pickled Peppers
5 pounds assorted hot peppers
2 quarts vinegar
4 cups sugar
2 tablespoons mustard seed
1/3 cup whole mixed pickling spices
12 pint Ball or other preserving jars (have extras available, just in case), sanitized.
Remove stems and seeds from peppers and stuff jars full.
Combine vinegar, sugar, mustard seed and pickling spices in a large saucepan and bring to a boil.
Meanwhile, bring a bath for the jars to a boil.
Pour hot pickling liquid into jars, tapping to release trapped air bubbles. Seal the jars and boil in the bath for 15 minutes. Remove and let cool. You should hear the lids "ting" as the jars cool.
Deal of the day: If you've never done your own preserving, consider getting a canning starter kit.