The Best Way To Preserve Hot Peppers

Hot peppers have a certain kind of personality that puts them in their own culinary league. They're fiery, unforgiving, and couldn't care less about your spicy threshold. Certain kinds of hot peppers have even climbed to the top rankings of the Scoville scale, namely, the habanero, ghost pepper, and the Carolina Reaper (per Bonnie Plants); the latter of which, is 440 times hotter than your average jalapeƱo pepper, via Chili Pepper Madness.

Now maybe you're a hot pepper connoisseur who can handle the heat. But, for many other home cooks, a few chopped jalapeƱos or serrano peppers go a long way in dishes like Moroccan chickpea stew or Mexican rice soup. This leads to the following question of the hour: "What should someone do with leftover hot peppers?" Surely the trash can won't mind storing just about anything, but there's also a DIY method to preserving those bad boys for years to come.

Grab a jar and some vinegar

A few sterilized jars and some white wine vinegar are all you need to pickle just about anything, including peppers. According to Science Direct, pickling involves taking foods and placing them in either vinegar or in brine. Asia Society also emphasizes that lemon juice or sugar water may be used to create an acidic brine. Such an ancient technique was commonly used by our ancestors to survive harsh winters and bouts of famine, according to the Exploratorium. Nowadays, you'll find both pickled and fermented treats all across the globe, such as miso pickles in Japan or kimchi in Korea (via Exploratorium).

Pickling is a very simple process and, according to The Bossy Kitchen, all you have to do is place your clean peppers in a sterilized jar and fill it up with either white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar. Screw a lid on tightly and your hot peppers are good to go for years in a cool area of your kitchen. But wait at least one month before nibbling on a pepper so science can work its magic. If you wish to pickle other types of foods, Epicurious states that carrots, cherries, beets, and blueberries (among so many other fruits and veggies) are all great additions to a jar of vinegar.

Eating Well also suggests gifting pickled peppers to your friends and family, or adding them to drinks like a Bloody Mary. They're tasty in, salsas, scambles eggs, soups, and tacos as well. So, whatever dishes you decide to garnish with some heat, be sure to use pickled peppers for a sour, crunchy, and spicy bite.