I buy pepper plants from a Mennonite owned green house across the mountain from our home. This year I mistook banana peppers for green bell peppers and ended up with 4 plants of banana peppers instead of the two I intended to purchase. Because I hate to let my homegrown veggies go to waste I set out to make “pepperoncini” with the banana peppers that would taste similar to the spicy and tangy store bought pickled pepperoncini we love as a side to homemade pizza or pizza paninis. With some trial and error I came up with a recipe that my husband and I can agree tastes very close to store bought pepperoncini and is delicious with pizza! Canning instructions included in the recipe card, but use the hot water bath canning method at your own risk. You may also enjoy these pickled banana peppers as a side to flatbread pizza made with homemade Na-an.
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Pickled Banana Peppers (like pepperoncini)
- Hot water bath canner (linked below)
- Mason jars (linked below)
- Saucepan (linked below)
- Measuring cup with a pour spout (linked below)
- banana peppers to fill 2 quart jars or 4 pints sliced or whole
- 3-4 garlic cloves thinly sliced
- red pepper flakes optional
- crunch preserver (calcium chloride granules) *see note
For the pickling brine:
- 2 cups distilled white vinegar
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 tablespoon pickling salt *see note
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon citric acid (heaping)
- Trim the tops off of the banana peppers then slice 1/4 inch thick or leave whole if the peppers are small. Slice the garlic cloves and place into the bottom of two pint jars or one quart jar. Pack the prepared peppers on top of the garlic cloves, leaving 1 inch of headspace in the jar, then add a dash or two of red pepper flakes to each jar (optional, for additional heat).
- Combine all the brine ingredients except for the citric acid in a medium sized saucepan. Bring to a boil while stirring occasionally. Once the brine is boiling, remove from heat and then stir in the citric acid. The brine will be somewhat cloudy from the spices.
- Pour the brine over the banana peppers packed into jars (again leaving an inch of headspace), then allow to cool and seal with a lid. Keep refrigerated for several months or see below for hot water bath canning method.
Hot water bath canning:
- Pack the garlic and banana peppers into jars as directed above, then pour the hot brine over the peppers. Add crunch preserver to each jar as directed on the package.
- Bring a large canner, with enough water cover the jars up to the neck, to a boil. Reduce the heat to a full simmer, then add the jars filled with peppers and hot brine. Can for 5 minutes (any longer and the peppers will be mushy), then remove from heat immediately and allow to set for 24 hours until sealed.
- If any of the jars do not seal within 24 hours, they can be refrigerated for several weeks. *see note on keeping the peppers crunchy below.
Equipment needed for these pickled banana peppers:
- Hot water bath canner If you plan on canning these pickled spicy banana peppers, you will need a large pot used for hot water bath canning.
- Mason jars Mason jars with lids and rings are needed for hot water bath canning, but also very convenient for the refrigerator pickled banana pepper method.
- Saucepan A med-large saucepan is needed to cook the ingredients for the spicy brine.
- Measuring cup with a pour spout A measuring cup with a pour spout is very useful for measuring out all the wet ingredients and for pouring the brine into the jars packed with peppers and garlic.
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Ingredients needed for these pickled banana peppers: Banana peppers, cayenne pepper, ground coriander seeds, citric acid, salt, garlic cloves, vinegar and water. Not shown, red pepper flakes and crunch preserver. (photo shows half a batch of brine ingredients.)
How spicy are these pickled banana peppers?
These pickled banana peppers have a similar heat to the pickled pepperoncini that you buy from grocery stores. If you wish to have the peppers less spicy or even less tangy you can reduce the amount of red pepper (including the flakes) and citric acid added in the recipe.
Step 1-2: Pack the peppers and garlic into jars and add several dashes of red pepper flakes on top (optional). Combine all the ingredients for the brine, except for the citric acid, in a large sauce pan. Bring to a boil while stirring occasionally, then remove from heat and stir in the citric acid.
Why add the citric acid if there is already vinegar in the brine?
Citric acid acts as extra tang and color preservation for the peppers and is also added to most store bought pepperoncini. However, the citric acid can be omitted for a milder flavored pickled banana pepper.
Step 3: Pour the brine over the banana peppers packed into jars, then allow to cool and seal with a lid. Keep refrigerated for several months for the crunchiest peppers, or add crunch preserver and can for 5 minutes in the hot water bath method listed above for storing in a pantry or on your canning shelf.
My personal preference for canning these pickled banana peppers:
My mother-in-law taught me most of what I know about hot water bath canning. She also taught me to can pickles by placing the jars of pickles into a canner, filling it up to 1 inch of head space on the jars, then bringing the water bath to a full (emphasis on full) rolling boil. Once the water bath is fully boiling remove the canner from the heat and allow the jars to set for 5 minutes in the hot water before removing. Although this method isn’t completely fool-proof it certainly keeps the pickles more crisp and is how I have successfully canned pickles for the past 6 years. I also use this method for my pickled peppers, but double check my jars to make sure they are sealed before storing.
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