Pickled Jalapeños

Every year around this time I start to regret planting a jalapeño pepper plant in my garden.

You see, I seem to have quite the knack for growing jalapeño peppers in my garden. In the spring, I think, “Oh, it will be so great to have fresh jalapeños from the garden!”  And, when those first few blossoms appear on the plant, I get excited. It’s such a great feeling to go out to the back yard and see the baby jalapeño peppers growing on the plant. That is, until there are about 40 peppers that need to be picked.

I love jalapeños. Really, I do. And, I love to add them to casseroles, salsas, guacamole, and lots of other dishes. But, one can only use so many jalapeños.  And, after picking close to 4 pounds of jalapeños in my garden just last week, I have just about hit my limit.

I cannot bear the thought of letting the peppers go to waste, though. So, I had to get creative. I was paging through a few of my canning cookbooks, and I came across a recipe for pickled jalapeños. My hubby loves them on nachos, so I figured I’d give them a try. It couldn’t hurt, right?

These pickled jalapeños are really quite easy to make. Don’t let the canning scare you away! Plus, you (or more likely, your spouse) can have lots of fun making remarks about making a peck of pickled peppers.

Pickled Jalapeños
(Yields 4 half-pints, adapted from The Complete Book of Small-Batch Preserving)

  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom seeds
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 1 pound jalapeño peppers
  • 4 cloves garlic, halved lengthwise

Prepare your boiling water canner and sterilize your jars, lids, and bands, leaving the jars in the hot (but not boiling) water until ready to fill.

In a large saucepan, combine the vinegar, water, honey, and salt. Combine the cumin seeds, peppercorns, cardamom seeds, and whole cloves in a cheesecloth pouch (tied with twine) or a mesh tea infuser (my personal favorite). Place the pouch of spices in the liquid and bring to a boil over high heat.  Remove from the heat and let stand for 10 minutes while slicing the peppers.

Meanwhile, cut the stems off of each jalapeño pepper and carefully remove the seeds. Do your best to leave hte pepper intact. (I found that this was easiest using a small paring knife.) Then, thinly slice the seeded peppers to form rings.

Remove the hot jars from the hot water and place one half of a clove of garlic in the bottom of each jar.  Pack the jalapeño slices in the jars, leaving room at the top, and then place the remaining garlic halves on top of the peppers.

Return the vinegar mixture to the heat and bring to a boil.  Pour the hot liquid over the peppers, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace in each jar. Wipe the rims clean, and fit the jars with lids and bands. Process the jars (half-pint jars) for 10 minutes in boiling water.

First time canning? Be sure to check out these guidelines for boiling water canning!  I have done my best to ensure that this recipe is safe for canning, and  I used a reputable source.  However, it is always important to double  check the guidelines to make sure a recipe is safe for canning.

17 Responses to Pickled Jalapeños

  1. Oh my, I am sooo jealous of all your jalapeños! You can always send some over to me if your plant runneth over. Or just send some of these pickles ones, that’ll work too. ;-)

  2. I just started canning this summer. My mom canned tomatoes and jam, but I never was inspired until now. It’s recipes like the pickled jalapenos you have made that are inspiring me. I am looking forward to summer memories stored in my pantry when we are in the middle of winter.

  3. Sounds really good, but why do you remove the seeds? That’s where all the “heat” is (well, what little heat jalapenos have, anyway).

    • bygeorgie – You wouldn’t have to remove the seeds… I like the peppers to be more on the mild side, so I wanted to keep the heat level down. If you want a spicier version, you can certainly leave the seeds in. You can also use a hotter variety of peppers, if you like.

  4. I made several jars of these for my husband last year. He loved them, as did the guys he works with. I had to come back and make them again this year, but I am doing 7 pounds worth–some for Handsome to eat and some for him to share. Thanks for the recipe. You make me a hero around here.

  5. After they cool, should they be kept in the fridge, even the un-opened jars? How long will the unopened jars keep (refridgerated or not)?


    • Hi, Angela – After the jars cool, they can be kept at room temperature (preferably in a cool, dark place) for about 6 months. Of course, you want to check to make sure the jars sealed (the lids will be sucked down and will not move when pressed lightly). If any jars did not seal properly, those should be kept in the refrigerator and used in a few weeks.