At the beginning of the summer, when we were still picking out plants and herbs for our container garden and dreaming of August's tomatoes, we thought some pepper plants might be a fun change of pace from the usual choices — who wouldn't love fresh pico de gallo or sliced fresh banana peppers at the height of summer's heat? Little did we know, we had purchased super-producing plants, which has given us what seems like hundreds of peppers, and no ideas of what to do with all of them. So, when in doubt, can it!
Here's a recipe we worked out to can those extra peppers, but it's a basic template that could work with other vegetables as well (cauliflower works especially well, yum!).
4 cups white vinegar
2 cups water
2 tablespoons sugar
1 onion, medium diced
2 medium-sized carrots, medium diced
Mix together the vinegar, water, and sugar in a medium saucepan and heat until the mixture reaches a simmer.
Meanwhile, sauté the onions and carrots in olive oil until tender.
Using pint-sized canning jars, place approximately 1 tablespoon of the mixture in the bottom of a jar, then add the peppers (if you make 3 small incisions on each pepper, the flavors of the brine will infuse more quickly).
Add one bay leaf and 1/2 teaspoon of oregano to each jar. Seal the jars, and process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.
The flavor for these peppers will be best after at least two weeks.
Stephanie Fees is a professional chef who lives and works in Lewisburg, West Virginia.
(Image: Stephanie Fees)