I am sitting in my backyard under the pergola where the sun is shining through the checkered top and the birds are happily chirping. A rabbit just hopped to the middle of the yard, looked at me as if to say hello, then continued on his journey. It is warm outside but the wind is blowing ever so slightly which is refreshing but also bringing with it the aroma of roses. I love summer!
Whenever I feel stressed or overwhelmed with life, all I need to do is sit in my backyard where I feel at peace. Unfortunately the cold dark winter days of Chicago make it impossible to do this for 5- 6 months of the year. If only I could bottle up all these wonderful sights, smells, and sounds of summer to use when life becomes too overwhelming during the months of winter hell.
I know I cannot capture all of summer's wonderful qualities in a bottle, however, I can capture some of them. I have a vegetable garden where I grow various peppers, cucumbers, squash, tomatoes, and onions along with various herbs. I pickle the cucumbers and some of the peppers, make giardiniera with our home grown jalapenos, dry some herbs, and even make my own cayenne pepper.
Throughout the winter, I will eat the pickled foods or put some of my dried herbs in a dish which does bring back some of those peaceful summer memories. Plus, when all of my pickled foods and dried herbs are gone, I know spring is right around the corner and that makes me very, very happy.
I wanted to share with you my refrigerator pickled banana pepper recipe which I use in salads and sandwiches. Don't worry if you do not have a vegetable garden. All you need to do is go to your grocery store or farmer's market and pick up some banana peppers or Hungarian wax peppers. What I love about this easy recipe is that it lasts in the refrigerator for at least 3 months so when you are done with your last jar, spring is right around the corner.
If you like your peppers hot, use only the Hungarian wax peppers and if you like them mild, just use the banana peppers. I have even mixed both peppers together for a surprise in each bite. I hope these peppers will bring back great summer memories for you too!
1 pound banana peppers (mild) or Hungarian wax peppers (hot)
3 cups white vinegar (5% acidity)
2 cups water
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon white sugar
2 cloves of garlic smashed
1/2 teaspoon turmeric (for color)
2 quart size Mason jars
In a medium size sauce pan, heat the water, vinegar, salt, sugar and turmeric until the salt and sugar are completely dissolved. Let cool.
While the liquid is cooling wash and dry the peppers. Slice the peppers into 1/4 inch rings. You can take away the seeds/membranes if you want but you do not have to. If using Hungarian peppers, the seeds/membranes will make the peppers hotter.
Place a smashed garlic clove in each Mason jar and add the sliced peppers up to 1/4" from the top. Ladle the cooled pickling liquid into each jar making sure to cover the peppers. Screw on the lids and place in the refrigerator. The peppers will be ready in 48 hours but improves with age. Enjoy!
Check out my giardiniera recipe: World Famous Giardiniera Recipe
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