There are several varieties of chilli which have been selected over many generations to be ideal for pickling. Of these, Dalle (Akabare) Khursani is highly regarded but it is difficult to source genuine seed. A safer choice is the Turkish Pickling Pepper seed of which is readily available in the UK, and which is known to perform well. The instructions below are specific to this variety, as other chillies are traditionally pickled when ripe.
- Harvest the chillies while still green, before they start to turn colour, making sure to leave a short length of stem on each one.
- Make a slit lengthways in each chilli
- Make a 5% brine (50 grams rock salt per litre of mineral water)
- Pack the chillies into large jars, cover with brine, and press down to expel air from chillies
- Use a weight to keep the chillies fully submerged and cover the jars to keep out any insects or dust
- Leave for 24 hours
- Drain the chillies, discarding the brine
- Boil together 500 ml white wine vinegar, 500 ml mineral water, 3 tsp rock salt and 1 tsp sugar
- Rince and roughly dry the chillies, then pack into warm sterilised jars
- Cover chillies with vinegar/brine mix, pressing chillies down to expel air
- Seal jars and place in preserving pan with towel under the jars
- Add hot water up to the necks of the jars
- Boil gently for 15 - 20 minutes
- Remove jars, allow to cool, and label
- Store for 3 months before using
The pickled chillies should be drained of excess liquid before serving. Hold the stalk between thumb and forefinger, pull the chilli off the stalk with the front teeth and discard the stalk. Pickled chillies are traditionally eaten as a side dish to turkish cooking, but are a great accompaniment to curries, cold meats, pizza, bread and cheese - whatever you fancy.
- Do not use table salt - it contains anti-caking agents
- Tap water may be ok if you live in a soft water area
- The excess vinegar mix can be retained for future use
- A towel in the base of the preserving pan stops the jars moving and rattling
- Chillies that have started to colour will give an inferior product
- Make plenty - they are very moreish