I can never resist snatching up red peppers. They are just so darn pretty. Problem is, I always end up buying way more than I can eat before they go bad but not enough to make a decent sized pepper mash. These are one of the simplest ferment you can do. It’s really just as easy and throwing the pepper and herbs in a jar and topping with a salt brine. Peppers are more prone to spoilage so I use a higher percentage brine. Peppers typically need between 5% and 15% brine. There is very little microbial activity once you get to 15%. That much salt ends up being more of a salt cure than a ferment. Using an anaerobic vessel and keeping the peppers below the brine will help ensure no spoilage occurs. 5.4% brine is still pretty strong but since you’re not eating them like you would a pickle (well, I don’t), it’s not as noticeable.
How do I use these peppers? I use these to adorn lots of different meals. My husband loves them on sandwiches. I garnish salads with them. Sliced up on top of pizza (added after cooking) is delicious. Any Mexican or Italian type dish I serve, I like to have a few of these peppers sliced on the side.
And the brine. Oh the brine! It has an amazing flavor. A little brine with a splash of olive oil would make an awesome salad dressing.
Italian Style Pepperonicini Peppers
- 1 quart worth of whole pepperonicini peppers (any mild chili works great)
- fresh herbs, 1 small sprig each (thyme, oregano, rosemary)
- 2 thick slices of onion
- 2 garlic cloves, smashed
- 5.4% brine (51 gms of sea salt per quart of water)
Prick each pepper a few times. This allows the brine to permeate the skin faster.
Trim the stem but don’t remove the cap (unless you really want to).
Layer pepper, herbs and garlic in your fermentation vessel filling to just below the shoulder.
Pour brine over everything, just past the shoulder.
Lay onions over the top to help keep the peppers under the brine.
Using a glass weight, push everything down so it’s all submerged under the brine. The peppers will want to float and I’ve found that using a shot glass on top of the weight helps keep everything under.
Seal jar and don’t forget to fill the airlock with water. Keep at room temp for 5-7 days, until bubble activity stops. At this point, move to the warmest place in your fridge which is usually the door or top shelf toward the front.
Part of GAPS Friendly Friday.