Honestly, I don’t even know how much a “peck” is. I could consult the oracle known as teh interwebs, I suppose, but the instant gratification of knowing the definition of a unit of measure I’ve known about my whole life but that has been kinda nebulous and undefined would be somehow unsatisfactory and a letdown. I want to learn what a “peck” is by experiencing it, not vicariously from a web site or by being told. There was a time when I see peppers all the same. I did not know there are different kinds of them. After stumbling upon yet another post on https://cookingplanit.com/best-black-pepper, I realized that there are many varieties out there and I am excited to try all of them.
I want to arrive at my understanding of “a peck” organically by, say, dorking about a farm and having a grizzled farmhand speaking to me, offhandedly gesturing about and remarking about how “Bessie foaled in the springtime. The harvest was fair to middlin’, and that thar peck o’ okra is bound fer market in Omaha tomorrow.” And then I want to look at the okra (or whatever) he’s pointing at and have the firsthand lightbulb-over-the-head “Ohhhh! THAT’S how much a ‘peck’ is!” moment.
Obviously this ruminating about what a “peck” is happened because I made some pickled peppers.
Actually I’ve made these before, and they are quick and easy and keep well and are amazing on both hot and cold sandwiches and on pizza. Especially on pizza. Tragically, I made these and then made pizzas and salad the next night, fully intending to have them with pizza. But after finishing dinner, I realized that both The Wife and I had forgotten to take these out of the refrigerator. How’s that for absentmindedness?
So check it out. Next time you see a large bag of baby bell peppers, buy them. CostCo usually has them in bulk 2 pound bags, which is what I used for the below.
What I used
- 2 pounds of baby bell peppers, seeded and sliced into rounds
- 2 shallots, sliced into rings
- 2 large scallions with the whites diced into rings and the greens cut into 3-inch lengths
- 4 cups white wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- 10 sprigs of fresh thyme (We had picked up a thyme plant the other day at a farmers market up the street. We do that because freesh herbs are expensive at the store and we’re going to kill any plany in our house anyway because we suck at keeping them alive. Seriously, I have no idea how we’ve managed to keep a kid alive for 5 years, considering we can’t keep a damn cactus hydrated on our watch)
- 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 tsp. kosher or sea salt (Don’t use iodized salt. I mean, you can, but it just tastes wrong)
What to do with said ingredients:
- Throw the peppers, shallots, and green onions into a large bowl
- Throw everything else into a saucepan and bring it to a boil. Make sure you stir it so the sugar doesn’t stick to the bottom and end up caramelizing.
- Once the stuff in the pot is boiling, pour it over the bowl with the peppers and whatnot.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit for 5 minutes
- Cram as many of the peppers and assorted goodness possible into jars, cover them with the brine, and seal ’em up
That’s it. You’re done. Put them in the fridge for at least 12 hours before you start eating on them. Give some away. Pretend they are rare and exotic rings you place around your finger, whatever you want. These are your pickled peppers, and what you do with them in the privacy of your home is your own business. Regardless, they’re gonna taste good.
And please nobody tell me how much a “peck” is…
Your ingredients. Can you guess which jar is my favorite? It’s the one that says “Ball” on the top (snicker)
Vinegar, sugar, water, garlic, thyme, etc., coming to a boil
These are the first three ingredients in a large bowl
Wet ingredients added to peppers, covered, sitting for a few minutes to stew in their own juices
And this is what I ended up with. Yum!