Once you realize how easy it is to make fermented pickled jalapeños, you’ll never buy jars of sliced pickled jalapeños again – especially since you get all the probiotic benefits with these delicious jalapeños!
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If you know of or have made my quick refrigerated pickled jalapeños, you may not be surprised to see a recipe for fermented pickled jalapeños. Especially if you also have read my research into gut health and the realization that fermented foods are basically pickled foods, just pickled with salt instead of vinegar.
Pickling with salt instead of vinegar creates an environment for good bacteria to grow. By contrast, vinegar kills bacteria, which is why it’s used in shelf-stable canning recipes (a good thing). And when we eat this salt-pickled food (fermented, also called lacto-fermented from the name of the major bacteria it cultivates) we introduce those good bacteria into our digestive system where they can take hold and do their job. Which is to push out the bad bacteria – or in some cases, populate an empty gut so that it can function again.
Obviously, this is a very simplistic review of a complex system in our bodies. If you are scratching your head at this, I urge you to do your own research – the new things we are learning that are impacted by gut health is fascinating. I’ve seen our guts referred to as our body’s “second brain.” Here is a WedMD article to get you started, but googling “gut health” will get you a lot more interesting and easy to read articles.
Anyway, back to these fermented pickled jalapeños. Notice how I’m putting both fermented and pickled into the title? I think it more clearly explains what these really are, don’t you? After discovering these Easy Fermenter Lids and how set-it-and-forget-it fermenting could be with them, I’ve come up with recipes for a quick spicy corn relish, easy fermented pickled vegetables (carrots, cauliflower, etc.), and a delicious mild tasting sauerkraut.
The next vegetable on my list to ferment became jalapeños, since it’s one of Brian’s favorite things to add to Mexican food, pizza, salads, even crackers (triscuit + cottage cheese + sliced pickled jalapeño!). I basically made them just like the fermented vegetables – once you get the basics down, it’s really easy to branch into all kinds of fermentations.
How to Make Fermented Pickled Jalapeños
The first three steps to making fermented pickled jalapeños (and any other fermented vegetable) are:
- Prepare salted water.
- Prepare vegetables.
- Add salted water to vegetables.
A couple of notes:
- I like to slice garlic for any pickles I make – I feel it releases more of the flavor into the pickle than whole cloves. This is optional, though.
- We find sliced jalapeños to be much easier to use in the ways we enjoy, so that’s how I prepare them. You can also cut in half or leave whole (but slice through whole peppers to allow the brine to penetrate).
- Always use gloves when slicing jalapeños!! Not only will this prevent your hands from burning (lesson learned) it prevents you from getting any hot juices in your eyes (you would be surprised at how often this happens – apparently we touch our eyes more than we think!).
The fourth step is:
- Keep vegetables under brine with a weight.
Some people use things like cabbage leaves or other homemade items to attempt to keep the vegetables under the salted brine, but I find it easiest to use a glass fermenting weight made for this purpose. It’s especially needed for the cut slices of jalapeños, because you can see in the top photo how they will just float to the top without a weight. Slipping the weight on top holds them just under enough to be completely covered.
Need some weights? This is the simple weight I have that is pictured, but I’ve learned that they are kind of hard to place and often hard to fish out. Now I’ve got these glass weights with handles on my to-buy list. They look easier to place and remove. Since they are now about the same price, I’d recommend going with the handled weights for sure.
And the last step is:
- Sealing with a lid (and keeping track of the date you made it so you know when it’s done).
There are all kinds of time-honored ways for fermenting, usually with crocks weighted down with plates, and covered with towels. You can use a regular mason jar lid loosely attached so air can pass as well. I’ve even seen fermenting lids with special syringes attached that you need to use to remove gasses. All of these involve babysitting, checking often, “burping” lids, and often cleaning up overflows on the counter.
Um, that’s not really easy to me. I use these Easy Fermenter Lids – they are what has allowed me to make all of my fermented recipes truly easy. You simply screw on the lid, turn the wheel to the day you made it (I suppose you could make it the day you check it, too), and set it on the counter. You won’t need to do anything else until you check them to be finished. Now that’s easy, right?
We’ve found 5-7 days to be “done” for these sliced fermented pickled jalapeños (you should test one to see if you’d like it shorter or longer for your preference – the longer the ferment, the more sour the pickle). Also, warm weather may pickle the vegetables sooner than cold.
If you test and want to keep fermenting on the counter, reattach the Easy Fermenter Lid and use the syringe that came with the kit to remove the oxygen that was introduced. One to two pumps is all that’s needed.
What do they look like after fermenting?
In full disclosure, I want to show you what the jalapeños look like after fermenting 5 days and storage for a couple more – I think you’ll see why I chose the first-day of fermenting to take the pretty pictures:
Like all pickled jalapeños, the color will turn a duller green. You will also have a cloudy brine, but that is what you want – it’s definitely not ‘bad!’
And it may depend on the jalapeños you start with, but these guys are HOT. I actually have to cut one in quarters to spread it over my taco or pizza. But obviously I think they’re good or I wouldn’t bother! They add such a nice touch – both flavor and heat – to foods. We wouldn’t want to be without a batch of either these fermented jalapeños or the vinegar version.
What about you – will you try making these?
Click the arrow for the full fermented pickled jalapeños recipe (with print options)!
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