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I love fresh jalapeños on nachos, fajitas, you name it, but I never seem to have any when I need them. You know, for that impromptu midnight snack of tortilla chips and melted cheese, or a last minute thrown together taco night. I used to keep a jar of the pickled jalapeños in the fridge, but they were pretty sad in comparison. I decided to try my hand at pickling my own jalapeños, without all the garbage that goes into the commercially prepared ones.

Its an amazingly simple recipe, and requires only two ingredients: jalapeños (obvs) and white vinegar. Well, you’ll need a jar, too, and some latex or similar type gloves to wear while cutting the jalapeños. You might think you can be careful and cut them without gloves (and I have) but its sooooo much easier with, and then there’s no worry about getting jalapeño juice on your hand and then into your eye. When I first starting pickling my jalapeños I used a big mason jar, but the lid kept rusting closed so I found a french canning jar with a rubber gasket instead. Here’s the recipe.

  • 5 or 6 green jalapeños, medium to large
  • 1 32 ounce bottle of white vinegar (at least 5% acidity)

Traditionally one would put salt in as well, and some put sugar but I don’t think it needs it, so I leave it out. Also ,keep in mind this is not a canning recipe. I usually just make one jar of pickled jalapeños at a time and keep them in the fridge. If you want to can for storage, use this recipe instead. You can modify this recipe up or down to suit your jalapeño consumption. You could literally pickle one pepper at a time: the only rule you have to remember is to make sure it is covered with the vinegar.

Wash your jalapeños in soapy water and rinse well. Set them on a towel to dry. Get out your cutting board, sharpen a big knife and a small paring knife, put on some gloves and chop each jalapeño into rings. I usually start at the pointy end and continue up the pepper to the stem.

Once I get about halfway up the pepper, that’s where the seeds and the membrane are. The membrane is where the heat is. I like spicy, but I also like to be able to enjoy the flavor without burning my mouth up, so I take the seeds and membrane out. Just take the skinny paring knife and slide it up inside the pepper and cut those bits of membrane loose. Then, as you continue cutting the jalapeño into rings, the membrane piece falls out onto the cutting board and get discarded. Of course, if you want them spicy leave them in. If you want them über hot, you can use the red jalapeños. These are more ripe than the green ones and have developed more heat. Discard the stems and put the cut jalapeños in the jar. Pour in enough white vinegar to cover them, and that’s it! Store them in the fridge and enjoy for up to three months.