These vibrant probiotic-rich jalapeño pickles are easy to make and pack a mean spicy punch.
This article may contain affiliate links, meaning that if you choose to purchase something after clicking on one of the links in this post, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.
FERMENTED JALAPEÑO PICKLES TUTORIAL VIDEO
If this is your first time visiting the kitchen, you’re about to find out why I call my kitchen vintage… If you like my style, please consider subscribing to the Vintage Kitchen Vixen YouTube channel!
THE PERFECT SPICY CONDIMENT
Are you one of those folks who can’t get enough spice in their life? Or maybe you’re looking for a homemade edible gift idea for someone who NEEDS hot sauce on EVERYTHING? I’ll tell you one thing: these fermented jalapeño pickles will not disappoint!
Unlike the sodium-heavy pickles that can be found beside the salsa at the grocery store, these are actually good for you. Pull them out for Taco Tuesday. Dress up your breakfast eggs. Add a spicy twist to savoury baked goods, and stick them in sandwiches. You will want these in your burgers for a little kick that burns oh, so good.
IS THIS YOUR FIRST FERMENT?
If this is your first ever ferment, I am SO excited for you. You’re about to step into the fabulous world of making your own powerful probiotic foods. This is probably one of the best things you can add to your diet if they’re not in there already.
The process of fermentation amps up the vitamin and mineral profile of vegetables. It turns what could be an otherwise bland veggie into a gut-healthy powerhouse that aids with digestion.
When I began this journey, I was super intimidated by everything and took months to practice what I was learning. Lucky for you, these biting jalapeño pickles are ridiculously easy to make! Even if you’re brand new to fermenting, this is a great project to wet your feet with.
MAKING A BRINE FOR JALAPEÑO PICKLES
Unlike vegetables like cabbage and eggplant, you can’t squeeze enough brine out of jalapeño peppers to keep them submerged. Instead, they need a little extra help, which is why a brine is needed. This is the first step in making this ferment.
USE THE BEST WATER AND SALT AVAILABLE
If you are able, use the purest water available. If at all possible, avoid chlorinated water. The same rule goes for the salt. I like using mineral-rich Celtic sea salt for all of my ferments and favour this brand which can be found on Amazon. Your local health food store will probably have something similar.
If you’re using fine sea salt, use two tablespoons per quart of water (one litre). Maybe you accidentally ordered coarse sea salt though, in which case, use three tablespoons.
Add the water and the salt to a medium saucepan and bring it to a boil. If you’re using mineral-rich salt it is normal for the water to look cloudy and for there to be sediment.
Allow the brine to cool until it is tepid. Adding hot brine to the jalapeños will kill valuable bacteria needed for the fermentation process.
HAVE EXTRA BRINE?
It is likely that you will have extra brine. Store it away in the fridge for up to a week, using it to top off the ferment, if needed. You can also use the leftover brine to start another fermentation project, like these delicious carrot stick pickles.
SLICING THE JALAPEÑOS
If you’ve ever sliced a jalapeño before, you know it’s a mistake to touch your face shortly afterward. This is all thanks to the capsaicin, which is what gives heat to chilli peppers.
You’ll be slicing more than a few peppers for this easy ferment. Hence, take proper precautions to avoid burning hands (or anything else!).
The first option is to wear gloves. The second option is to coat your hands in oil. I got this hot tip from fermentistas Kirstin and Christopher Shockey in their book Fermented Vegetables. Their advice has saved my hands from the burn on more than one occasion.
Once your hands are protected, slice away! For best results, slice the jalapeños between 1/4-1/2″ in thickness. If you want extra spicy pickles, keep the seeds, otherwise, seed the jalapenos before adding them to the jar.
FILLING THE JAR
It takes about three cups of sliced jalapeños to fill a quart-sized mason jar. There’s no need to sterilize the jar as you would with canning, but do make sure it’s good and clean. Add the jalapeños to the jar, and if you’d like, a couple of crushed garlic cloves for extra flavour.
Should these fermented jalapeño pickles become part of your regular fermenting rotation, be sure to add a splash of brine from a previous batch to speed things along.
Fill the jar so that the jalapeños are under the shoulder of the jar, then top them off with the brine. If they’re growing nearby tuck a couple of grape leaves under the shoulders before placing a fermenting weight on top. The tannins in the grape leaves will help keep your peppers on the crisp side.
If you’re brand new to fermenting and don’t have any special equipment, fret not. Find a stone or fill up a small ziplock bag with water to help keep the jalapeños submerged.
FERMENT FOR 4-7 DAYS
Once that precious jar of peppers is weighted and covered, it’s time to set it aside on a baking sheet. If you’re not using an airlock, open up the jar every day to let any built-up gas burp out. Otherwise, leave the jalapeños to do their thing for the next 4-7 days. The warmer it is, the faster they will ferment, so start giving them a taste test around day four if your kitchen is warmer than room temperature.
WHEN TO STOP FERMENTATION
I like stopping fermentation when the jalapeños start developing the kind of tang I like in a pickle. As you get more comfortable making these jalapeños pickles, they will get better and better when you add a splash of brine from the previous batch.
When you’re happy with how the jalapeños taste, remove the weight and the grape leaves (if using) and transfer them to the fridge. Refrigeration doesn’t truly put a stopper to fermentation, but cold temperatures drastically slow down the process. Over time the flavour will continue to develop.
HOW LONG ARE FERMENTED JALAPEÑOS GOOD FOR?
Like most ferments, these pickles are best consumed within the span of a year. If you’re anything like I am, yours will disappear long before then!
THANKS FOR DROPPING BY THE KITCHEN!
I hope you love this fermenting project as much as I do. I’ve been steadily harvesting jalapeños from my little victory garden and currently have an open jar in my fridge and another three tucked away in my basement fridge.
When Christmas rolls around this year, I’m even planning on gifting the spicy food lovers in my life with a very jar of their own! In any case, if you give these a try and love them, please consider leaving a rating in the comments below. Every review goes a long way for a small-time blogger like me!
OTHER FERMENTING PROJECTS TO EXPLORE
SHOP THIS POST
PRINTABLE RECIPE CARD FOR FERMENTED JALAPEÑO PICKLES
Fermented Jalapeño Pickles
- Quart-sized mason jar (1 litre)
- Fermentation weight (or a small ziplock bag filled with water)
- Airlock (optional)
- 1 quart water
- 2 tbsp fine sea salt mineral rich
- 3 cups jalapeño peppers sliced 1/4-1/2" thick
- 2 garlic cloves halved and crushed (optional)
- grape leaves optional
- Bring the water to a boil and stir in the sea salt to dissolve. It's normal for there to be a bit of sediment when using mineral-rich sea salt. Allow it to cool until it's tepid.
- Add the sliced jalapeños to a quart-sized mason jar. Add the garlic, if desired.
- Fill the jar with brine, leaving enough headspace for the weight.
- If they're available, cover the jalapeños with grape leaves, tucking them under the shoulder of the jar to help keep them submerged. The tannins in the grape leaves will also help to keep the peppers crisp.
- Follow the jalapeños with a fermentation weight. If you don't have one of these, find a stone (wash it first!) or fill a small ziplock bag with water.
- Place an airlock over the jar and close the jar. If you don't have an airlock, close the jar, but open the jar every day to release any gas that might be building up inside.
- Set the jar on a baking sheet to protect against overflow, and allow it to ferment for the next 4-7 days. When the peppers have a tangy bite, remove the weight and grape leaves and transfer to the fridge. The jalapeño pickles will keep for a year.
- Protect your hands! Wear gloves or coat your hands in olive oil to avoid “jalapeño hands”.
- Seeding the jalapeños is optional. If you leave them in the ferment, it will result in a spicier batch of jalapeño pickles.
- If using coarse mineral-rich sea salt, increase the amount to 3 tablespoons.
- There will be extra brine. Store it in the fridge for up to a week and use it to top off the ferment, if needed.
- Plan on reserving a bit of jalapeño juice/brine to start the next batch of jalapeño pickles (they only need a splash). It will speed up fermentation and the peppers will be tastier!
PIN IT FOR LATER
Love and gratitude,