How do you preserve chillies in brine?
There are lots of ways to preserve chillies, but I love this really easy and uncomplicated recipe. It doesn’t use any complicated water bath method and as long as you keep your jars in the refrigerator, they can keep for several weeks. None of our jars last that long because we just love those pickles!
What are Biquinho chillies?
Biquinho means ‘little beak’ in Portuguese, and you can see why they gave them this name, the fruits have a little pointy end which resembles a beak. They are sometimes also called chilli pearls and you can buy them pickled in jars but I thought I’d experiment and grow these from seed. I’ve never grown chillies from seed before, so I was quite pleased that I managed to do this. Although next year I will start them off a lot sooner in January, as they take quite a long time to grow and fruit.
I first tasted these in a Restaurant. We ordered Pizza and mine came with these beautiful little red pearls that I had never seen before. I asked what they were and I was told they were chilli pearls. From then on I was hooked. They’re a bit difficult to find in the supermarkets so that’s how I decided to grow them myself. After I ordered the seeds I started sowing in small pots on my window sill. There will be another post about how I grew my own chillies, so stay tuned for an update.
You could use this recipe to pickle any type of chilli, but I have chosen Biquinho chillies because I love that they’re not very hot and spicy. I would describe the taste as a mixture of tomato and sweet red pepper. If you like your chillies hot, you can use any other type of chilli.
You will need some Mason Jars, I find that the screw lid ones are best for this type of recipe.
- Ripe Biquinho Chilli Peppers (or any other variety that's not too hot and spicey)
- 1 cup of white wine or cider vinegar
- 1 cup of vodka, white rum or tequila (I used grappa and it was quite tasty, so use what you have and experiment!)
- 1 large table spoon of white granulated sugar
- 1 tea spoon of salt
- Make the preserving liquid by combining the vinegar, the alcohol, the sugar and the salt in a sauce pan, bring to the boil and continue boiling on a low heat for about 2 minutes.
- Parboil the chillies by pouring them carefully into a pan of boiling water, leave them for about 20 seconds, then remove them from the boiling water with a colander and immediately plunge them into a bowl filled with ice cubes and water. This stops the boiling process, you don't want them to cook.
- Use a sterilised Mason Jar (if you have a dishwasher, they will be sterilised sufficiently) and fill it with the chillies. Bring the vinegar mixture to the boil again and pour it carefully over the chillies. Screw on the lid and you're done!
This recipe doesn’t use the traditional water bath method of preserving. Once the jar with the chillies is cooled down, just pop it into the refrigerator where it will keep for a few weeks. They don’t keep that long in our house because we eat them so quickly! If you want to keep and preserve them for longer, you can use the water bath method, where you put the whole jar in a boiling water bath for a few minutes, but it really isn’t necessary if you just plan on having them in the fridge for a few weeks.
I didn’t have enough chillies to fill a whole jar, so I added some peeled garlic cloves and cucumber slices. You can add any other vegetable that you like.
How can you use these pickled chillies?
Personally I love these on Pizza, as you know. I haven’t tried them on anything else yet but you could also make sandwiches and use them with your preferred filling. Try including some of these pearls in a thick vegetable soup or sprinkle them on top as a garnish. I’m sure they would be delicious in salads or vegetable fritatas. I will try different ideas and let you know. It’s fun to experiment, let me know what your favourite is in the comments!
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