These easy to make and easy to scale pickled sweet hot cherry bomb peppers are my go to put on everything condiment. Hot and just a little sweet they add a burst of color and flavor to pizza, pasta, salads, or a a charcuterie platter. You can make a single batch- just one jar!- as outlined in the recipe, or scale it up and preserve the whole peck of pickled peppers.
It’s the end of October but even though I’m wearing a wooly hat indoors to chase the chill I can still find bags of peppers (both sweet and hot) at my favorite stand at the farmers’ market. And so, like a fat squirrel foraging for winter, I continue to stuff my pack with pecks of peppers. So much hot sauce, harissa, and pickles, pickles, pickles. To my delight and surprise in addition to the variety bags there were two pounders filled with cherry bombs. Like poblanos, cherry bombs vary in heat, you never know how much tickle or tingle you are going to get after that first burst of pepper flavor. That’s part of the fun.
The homemade version are a little hotter (you could remove the seeds and pith before pickling to make a milder version) and a little less sweet than the trader joe’s variety I usually buy.
You can make these as a refrigerator pickle or cut the initial cook time to just a few minutes and “can” them instead. I sterilize my jars for both but I also use my refrigerator pickles waaayyyy past the “keeps up to six weeks” recommendation on most recipes. That said, once I crack the jar it rarely takes longer than a week to empty it.
Why? Because I stuff them with soft cheese and put them on snack boards, or slice them for a flavorful garnish with crackers and cheese. They compliment dill pickles on burgers or sandwiches and are awesome in all the salads (green, potato, tuna, pasta, egg).
These sweet hot cherry bomb peppers refrigerator pickles are a slight variation on the kitchn’s “quick pickled cherry peppers” you can make further variations on the theme by adding peppercorns, or red onion (makes a pretty purple hued brine and the onions also work well on charcuterie platters).
Update: August 6th 2018
After posting this recipe last year I made several more batches of these sweet hot cherry bomb peppers. But since the pepper season continued well in to November I did ultimately decide to process the pickles in a hot water bath in order rest a little easier when I opened the jars up several months down the line. I’ve included that option in the recipe as it has now become my go to method for pickling peppers.
If you are concerned about safety or have additional questions please go directly to a trusted source-
I like the National Center for Food Preservation and The University of Minnesota Extension. Both take you through the basics and all the details that I don’t have the patience or the inclination to process and repeat here.
a peck of pickled peppers: sweet hot cherry bombs
- 12 cherry peppers
- 2 cups vinegar- white vinegar is fine I’ve also used white wine vinegar and apple cider vinegar
- 2-5 cloves garlic sliced or whole
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2-3 teaspoons sugar like the garlic, this is largely a matter of personal preference. I used less, you can use more
Wash the cherry peppers throughly and trim the stems to a nubbin
Poke a few holes around the tops of the peppers with a sharp knife.
Add peppers and remaining ingredients to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.
Simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the peppers are slightly softened.
Transfer peppers and brine to a sterilized canning jar, seal and refrigerate.
The peppers can be eaten once cool but are best given a few days or store for up to 4 weeks in the refrigerator.
add garlic cloves to sterilized jars (sometimes I put in a bay leaf or peppercorns too!)
Combine and heat vinegar, salt, sugar, and peppers to boiling and simmer 5 minutes to just soften the peppers andmake them easier to stuff in the jars.
Remove peppers from heat and stuff into prepared jars. Add the hot pickling solution over the top leaving 1/2-inch headspace.
adjust lids and boil completely submerged for 10 minutes below 1000ft, 15 minutes up to 6000ft, and 20 minutes above 6000 ft.
Plese see note below for a link to a comprehensive water boiling step by step instructional.
This will just fit into a pint size jar, with brine leftover.
for a complete guide to using boiling water canners please visit the national center for home food preservation