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Tons of unripe hot peppers - what to do?

12 years ago

I'm no sure if you can pickle or make jelly out of green cayenne, Hinkelhatz, cherry bombs, Hot Portugals, or sweet bananas.

Suggestions (I've already picked the ripe peppers and the green serranos, jalapenos)?

Frost is coming - I'm surprised the season has lasted this long.

Also, I have some ripe hot peppers that got wrinkled on the counter waiting while I dealt with the last of the quinces - OK to dehydrate these, did I just get a head start (no rotten spots), or should I toss them?

Comments (13)

  • 12 years ago

    You can use under-ripened peppers in any of the same ways you'd use fully ripened peppers. You treat them exactly the same.

    There is no safety issue with using them. Just a different taste is all. In fact many people prefer the flavors of under-ripened peppers.


  • 12 years ago

    > Also, I have some ripe hot peppers that got wrinkled on the counter waiting while I dealt with the last of the quinces - OK to dehydrate these, did I just get a head start (no rotten spots), or should I toss them?

    I've done that for years. When you slice them up for dehydrating check the insides closely for bad spots. Habaneros are notorious for looking great on the outside and funky on the inside.

    And I purposely over-ripen peppers for seed saving either on the plant or on the counter.

    I'm not a big fan of unripe pods unless they are pickled or roasted.

  • 12 years ago

    Thanks - DH says when you buy pickled cherry peppers in the store, they're a mix of red and green. I just don't remember -but we have a lot of green cherry peppers.

    Green Hinklehatz may be good in a sauce, jelly, or something, just like you use jals and serranos? Thanks for the recipe Steve but I have my doubts about canning it with that much water to vinegar ratio (not to mention the oil).

    But what in the world can I use green cayenne (and I assume Hot Portugals are the same) for?

  • 12 years ago

    Excellent point. The water mostly cooks off so the vinegar is the dominant liquid. I bottle it and keep in the fridge, doesn't last that long and I only make one batch at a time, so I've never thought about canning it.
    I will go back and amend the recipe, the oil really isn't necessary if you use a NS pan, and I increased the vinegar substantially to my taste. Thanks!


  • 12 years ago

    I grow my hot peppers in pots on my patio. So I just bring the pots into the house for the winter. They continue to produce all winter, though not in the same quantities as in summer. As a bonus, I get peppers earlier than if I plant seedlings in the spring.

    But I think your peppers are in the ground. So that my anot work for you.

  • 12 years ago


    you can make a good hot sauce or relish with 3 ingredients

    chop/blend/liquify peppers, mix ingredients to taste, will last in fridge for about 3 months or so. can freeze this also will last in freezer for a year or two, this will help cut down on freezer space.

  • 12 years ago

    One thing to do with any kind of pepper - sweet or hot - is to put the ones with just a hint of color into a paper bag, with or without an apple. They will "ripen" in a few days. Flavor is not perfect, but pretty close.

    You can dig up a few healthy plants, put them in big pots, and bring them inside with full sun and minimal water. Peppers are a perennial plant though only with high normal heat, like a lot closer to the equator. That is why we can buy peppers in the grocery store all winter - they're still producing way, way down South.

    I do freeze hot peppers but the "heat" of them suffers. For pepper jellies I add a tiny dash of home-dried cayenne flakes.


  • 12 years ago

    Thanks - they were predicting freezing rain today, snow tomorrow so I harvested green ones, pulled whole plants (I read you can hang them like tomatoes) and hung them in the basement, and dug some others up yesterday, put the pots in the garage. My biggest one (18" tall x 36" wide) didn't look so good this AM - and lots of green pods, so I may have to hang that one.

    Made 2 batches (8 pints) of pickled peppers (rings and whole) today, house smells like boiling vinegar! Tomorrow I start the jelly.

    Froze some big Numex chiles for chile relleno casserole, but I've got to get some ground meat and make stuffed bell peppers, I've got some nice ones that I don't want to cut up for jelly or salad. Too bad my kids don't like stuffed peppers.

    And now the forecast changed! It was pretty nice today, rain tomorrow, freezing temps tomorrow night and snow maybe this weekend, but I could have spent 2 days prepping (and maybe that big plant would be doing better). I've still got 2 big Thai plants in the ground, I should have harvested ripe pods today but they're covered with a tarp - have to see what I can cut off tomorrow or Friday. I don't use the Thais too much, have a bunch in the fridge, so no great loss.

  • 12 years ago

    I had moved the jars to the basement a few hours ater processing, to make room on the counter. Went down today to take the rings off, the liquid is not covering the whole peppers (small bananas and pepperonicini are more covered than the cherries). I know the peppers were floating a bit, and I had poked them a lot with a chopstick to try to get air out but since they were whole (with slits cut in), they did have air inside.

    Good thing is, now they're not floating so I guess they filled with vinegar solution (Joy of Pickling recipe 1:1 ratio) but instead of 1/2" headspace (I let 1/4" since I knew there was air left in them, supposed to be 1/2") I've got closer to 1"!

    Are these going to be OK? Jars are sealed, but large portions of peppers are exposed.

  • 12 years ago

    Just like any other food that is exposed inside the jars they are safe but the exposed food may darken over time. Did you use hot pack or raw pack? Hot pack works better IMO. No floating and no big headspace.


  • 12 years ago

    Recipe calls for raw pack, not a problem with jals or serranos but I learned the hard way the bigger peppers hold more air - some of the cherries were pretty big, only got 6 or so to a pint, though the bananas and pepperonicini were smaller (at least thinner).

    I won't pickle whole round peppers any more - stick to the skinny ones.


  • 12 years ago

    One of the great advantages of gardening is actually getting ripe peppers from the garden. Think of all the people that think "green peppers" are "ready," and that think jalapenos are "supposed" to be green. Although I prefer ALL my peppers to ripen (red, yellow, orange, etc.), just like those green bell peppers and jalapenos, they can all be eaten and enjoyed green. One of the things I often make this time of the year when I have a haul of green hot peppers is to make a sweet pepper relish - with ONLY hot peppers(no seeds or membranes). The result I've had is a sweet relish that is NOT hot or spicy, but actually has far better pepper flavor than any relish I've made with bell peppers, and I think a better consistency than cucumber pickle relish.

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