Originating from South America, the banana pepper (Capsicum annuum) is believed to have been domesticated in Mexico thousands of years ago. Its name stems from its long, tapered shape resembling a banana. This sweet to mild pepper variety is now cultivated and enjoyed worldwide.
Banana peppers are relatively easy to grow and maintain. They thrive in warm climates and require full sun exposure for optimal growth. The plants typically reach a height of 2-3 feet and produce elongated fruits, 3-5", that start green and mature into vibrant shades of yellow or red. Typically banana peppers are harvested in their pale yellow stage, producing a sweet tangy flavor and allowing the plant to focus energy on producing more.
Whether enjoyed fresh, pickled, or cooked, banana peppers add a delightful tang and sweetness to dishes. Their versatility and ease of cultivation make them a popular choice for home gardeners and chefs alike, adding a burst of flavor to salads, sandwiches, pizzas, and more.
Here's a simple recipe for pickled banana peppers:
1 pound banana peppers
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
Optional: 1 teaspoon mustard seeds or dill seeds for added flavor
Wash the banana peppers thoroughly and slice them into rings or desired size. Remove the stem and seed and add sliced ring to sterilized jars.
In a saucepan, combine the vinegar, water, sugar, minced garlic, salt, black peppercorns, and optional mustard seeds or dill seeds. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
Pour the pickling liquid over the peppers, ensuring they are fully submerged. Tap the jars gently to release any air bubbles and add more liquid if needed.
Seal the jars tightly and let them cool to room temperature. Once cooled, refrigerate the pickled banana peppers for at least 1 week before enjoying.
The pickled banana peppers can be stored in the refrigerator for several weeks. They make a tangy and tasty addition to sandwiches, salads, burgers, or pizzas!