Fermented Jalapeno Slices
As we started our fermenting journey back in 2021, fermented jalapeno slices were one of our first forays into the whole wide world of fermenting!
And, oh how we loved these! Fermented jalapenos are now a staple in our house all year round! They're great little critters to add to egg dishes, sandwiches, or to toss on top of any meal for a little bit of good bacteria and zing!
You can adjust the heat of your jalapenos depending on how much of the ribs & seeds you leave in the jalapeno. As they ferment more in the fridge, the spicier they get ... so let this be your warning!
What is fermenting?
Fermenting is a process for preserving fruit & vegetables by using the naturally occurring lacto-bacteria to create an environment that preserves the vegetable.
The lactic acid bacteria that are naturally found on the vegetables are put to work in an anaerobic (anaerobic = without oxygen) environment of a salt-water brine to turn the sugars into lactic acid and carbon dioxide. The result is a more acidic medium that "preserves" the food and allows the good bacteria to flourish and the bad bacteria to be banished, like fungi and molds.
The live, healthy bacteria are great for our health, including our guts, immunity, inflammation, and more.
Why fermented jalapenos?
Fermenting is preferred over water bath canning for a couple of reasons:
1 - Heat used during water bath canning can destroy some of the vitamines and nutrient value of the vegetable.
2 - Fermenting promotes healthy bacteria which is great for your health.
3 - Flavour! These guys pack a punch of flavour!
How to slice jalapenos:
Keep the heat down in your final fermented jalapenos by removing all the seeds and as much of the ribs as you can.
Start by cutting off the stem, then use a paring knife to cut & dig out the ribs & seeds from the inside of the jalapeno. If it's an exceptionally large jalapeno, you can cut the jalapeno in half so you can reach the inside more easily.
Once the insides are cut our, use your paring knife to cut the jalapeno into slices about a 1/4 inch thick.
What to use your fermented jalapenos for:
- serve with tacos, fajitas, enchiladas
- top nachos & taco salad
- serve with potato and egg dishes
- tuck into sandwiches & wraps
- chop and mix into egg salad
Fermenting supplies to consider:
- fermenting weights - weights designed to fit in your wide mouth or regular mouth mason jars will help to keep your vegetables under the brine to prevent spoilage; available in wide-mouth or regular mouth
- fermenting springs - you can use these to push the vegetables below the brine; these work best with larger cut vegetables as smaller ones will float about the rings; Ball offers a kit with the springs and lid
- Fermenting lids - special lids with holes or airlocks to release the carbon dioxide as the vegetables ferment; these come in handy so you don't have to "burp" your ferments; come in a few styles
Fermented Jalapeno Slices Recipe
- 4 cups (1 litre or 1 quart) water
- 2 tablespoons sea salt
- 4 cups sliced, fresh jalapenos (approximately 10 to 15 jalapenos, depending on size, see notes above on how to slice them)
Optional add-ins (per jar):
- 1/2 teaspoon dehydrated minced garlic or 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon lime juice or 1/4 teaspoon grated lime rind
- 4 x 250 mL (1/2 pint) size mason jars or 2 x 500 mL (1 pint) mason jars
- fermenting weights (sized for the mouth size of the jars) or fermenting springs
- fermenting seals & rings or or airlock lids or regular lids (see info above)
To make the brine:
In a medium saucepan, combine water and salt. Heat over high heat until the salt dissolves completely, then turn off the heat. You will want to turn off the heat as soon as the salt dissolves as you want the brine mixture to be around room temperature to body temperature when adding it to the jalapenos. To much heat will kill the good bugs on the veggies that are essential for kickstarting the fermentation.
Prepare the jalapenos & seasonings:
Slice your jalapenos into rings with the inside flesh and seeds removed (see above on how to cut).
Add your optional items to the bottom of the jars, if using.
Fill the jars with fairly tightly packed jalapenos up to about 1 inch from the top of the jar. Pour brine over the jalapenos until the jalapenos are covered. Place the fermenting weight or spring on top and ensure that the jalapenos are below the brine. Top with a fermenting seal & ring. If you don't have a fermenting seal, close lightly with a regular lid but remember to "burp" the ferment daily to release any gas that is emitted (you don't want the jar to explode)!
Set the jars in a room temperature spot in your kitchen. After 3 days, check the jalapenos to see if they are fermented enough. You will want your jalapenos to taste a little bit more sour than salty. If still quite salty, give them another day and then test them again. Depending on a number of factors, it will take 3 to 6 days to ferment. Once fermented to your liking, you can remove the fermenting weight and seal, top with a regular lid, and move the jar of jalapenos to the fridge. They will continue to ferment at a slower rate in the fridge but the colder temperature will slow the fermentation process.
You can keep your fermented jalapenos in the fridge for up to 6 months without spoilage. But, I am willing to bet they won't last that long!
Top your favorite meal with the jalapenos slices and enjoy!