Jalapeno Wars; Goodbye Trappy's - I'm Cold Pickling My Own

Started by Pachanga, December 30, 2009, 11:10:58 AM

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Jalapeno Wars

Goodbye Trappy's Jalapenos – I'm Cold Pickling My Own

A lot of jalapenos are eaten in Texas and a lot of them are eaten at my home.  They used to go on everything until one night the wife said in frustration, "It doesn't matter what I cook, everything I make for you ends up tasting like jalapenos."  I am not going to say they are strictly reserved for Mexican food but I have cranked it back on my wife's excellent cooking.

I use mostly fresh jalapenos but pickled have their place on the table.  I have tried many brands of pickled jalapenos and most are soggy.  I like Trappy's Brand because they are crisp.  

A hard freeze was due into our area the other night and my Jalapeno plants in the garden were not going to survive, so I picked the whole batch.

I needed a pickling technique and recipe and started reading about Trappy's technique of cold pickling.  This is a method where the vegetable is placed raw in the canning jar and hot liquid is poured over it.  The lid is placed on and it seals.  The jar is stored in the refrigerator. After much study, I decided to try two different recipes.  They are on opposite ends of the spectrum in several regards.  One uses mostly water, some cider vinegar and salt is added as a preservative.  The cider vinegar adds a little sweetness. The other uses more vinegar as the preservative but adds sugar for a sweet flavor.  By starting with these two recipes, I can slowly blend the two to make my taste buds happy and hopefully end up with a product I like as well as Trappy's.

The techniques are the same except for the liquid ingredients.  These recipes will pickle about two pounds of sliced jalapenos each.  This will fill 4 pints or 2 quart jars.

Sterilize jars and lids for fifteen minutes covered in simmering water.  The lids should not be boiled but remain above 180 degrees.

Place the whole jalapenos in cold salted water to wash and kill germs or other critters and to get the dust off the pepper.  The water should taste like seawater or more salty.  Fifteen minutes is recommended.  Rinse the salt water off the jalapenos.  

This is not the knife I use.  I use a very sharp 7 inch Santoku.

Leave whole or slice to desired thickness.  If pickling whole, punch a small X with the point of a knife in the tip of the jalapeno to allow air out and liquid in.  Most people recommend gloves for slicing but that is a personal preference.  I don't use gloves unless I am processing a sack full.  More important, don't touch your eyes.  I must enjoy pain, because I always forget this part.

Pickling Solution #1
Slightly Sweet Jalapenos

Place the following in a pan, bring to a boil, and then simmer covered.

3 cups 5 percent white vinegar
1 cup bottled water
3 tablespoons of granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon of pickling salt, DO NOT substitute table salt or Kosher salt

Pickling Solution #2  
Water and Salt Solution with less Vinegar

Place the following in a pan, bring to a boil, and then simmer covered.

3 Cups bottled water
1 Cup 5 percent cider vinegar
1/4 Cup pickling salt, DO NOT substitute table salt or Kosher salt
1 Tbs. cooking oil  per jar (I used extra Virgin Olive Oil)

I have added third solution in an attempt to more closely duplicate Trappy's.

Pickling solution #3
Water and Salt Solution with White Vinegar and Turmeric
Trappy's Clone Attempt

Trappy's label ingredient list is Jalapenos, Water, Distilled Vinegar, Salt, Calcium Cloride, Sodium Benzoate and Sodium Metabsulfite (to preserve freshness), Turmeric.  

Place the following in a pan, bring to a boil, and then simmer covered.

3 Cups bottled water
1 Cup 5 percent white vinegar
1/4 Cup pickling salt, DO NOT substitute table salt or Kosher salt
1 teaspoon Turmeric

Each recipe is enough for four pints.

Other ingredients for each of the above solutions:

1 large garlic clove per pint jar sliced in half
2 peeled carrot pieces per pint jar
1 teaspoon whole peppercorns per pint jar
1 or 2 yellow onion piece per pint jar

Remove a jar from the simmering (but not boiling) water with tongs and begin to fill with the jalapenos.  Add a couple of pieces of small peeled carrots, a slice of onion, a teaspoon of peppercorns, and one large clove of sliced garlic interspersed with the peppers.  Pack them in tight.  Pour the boiling liquid over the peppers to within ¼ inch of the top of the jar.  Place a sterilized lid and ring over the top and screw down tight.  Invert the jar for a few minutes, then turn right side up.  Process one jar at a time. Leave the remaining jars and lids in the simmering water.  Continue to simmer the liquid ingredients.  Repeat the process one jar at a time.

Allow to cool.  Check that each lid has sealed by pressing down on the lid.  It should not give or pop.  Store in the refrigerator.  They are ready in 10 days but some say the flavor is better after one month.  My first batch will not last that long.

My evaluation of the two products (1 and 2) is as follows.  They are great.  I prefer both over the Trappy's.  It is a very easy and simple process that is not overly time  consuming.  This has been added to my list of on hand staples.

Both jars are equally crisp and compete more than favorable with the Trappy's in texture.  The two recipes yield totally different products but both are bright green like a fresh jalapeno.  The low vinegar recipe #2 is more like a fresh jalapeno.  It has a slight saltiness but it is not unpleasant.  The high vinegar product #1 has a delicate but not overpowering satisfying sweetness.  These are only very, very  slightly sweet.  It balances nicely with the heat of the jalapeno and tames it slightly. The carrots are very crisp and have the mouth feel of a fresh carrot.  The onions are even crisp. Both were hotter than the Trappy's but that was due to the peppers used.

Other notes:  I will not put the oil in solution # 2 in the future.  I see no purpose.  I will insert more carrots and onions in the future because they are so good.  You will need a sharp knife and decent knife skills to process these.  I cut three jalapenos at a time lined up adjacent to each other.  An alternative is to use a food processor.  My processor quickly slices four jalapeños at a time.  Cut the stem end off.  Insert two pointing up and two pointing down in the tube or the amount it takes to tightly fill your feeder tube.  Hit pulse while pushing down with the tube feeder.  One second later you have sliced jalapenos.  I tried my 4 MM slicing disk.  It produced a marginally thin jalapeno.  I would suggest a 6 MM slicing disk or using a knife.

My final conclusion is that both of these recipes have a place in the refrigerator. Neither is a Trappy clone. However, Trappy's is my third place choice.  I will probably can up 3 of the sweet for every 1 of the salty.

You ask, what about Solution # 3?  I have just bottled up 4 more jars of  solution #1 – Slightly Sweet Jalapenos and 3 bottles of solution # 3 for the first time.  Solution # 3 is an attempt to more closely duplicate Trappy's.  They will need to sit a few days.

Since I enjoy the other two recipes more than Trappy's, this may sound silly.  It is.  My original goal was to duplicate Trappy's so my personality traits demand I continue to do so.  I may learn something in the pursuit.  

I will continue to experiment but thought this was worth posting.  I will be interested to hear recipes and comments from other more accomplished canners regarding this method and especially their thoughts on the preservative powers of solution # 2 which is mostly water with salt used as the preservative.

I can't wait until my asparagus sprouts this spring.  Another prospect.

Someone help me.  I can't stop.

Good luck, tingling fingers and tight sealed lids,



I was in the middle of replying to this and it would not let me. I finally figured out the post got moved during my reply.  :D
My reply.
They look and sound great. When I was taught to do peppers, I never liked them to come out soft like normal canning does to them. So I found a recipe to cold pack, like you are doing. But mine calls for the sliced peppers to sit in a brine for several days, I think, before canning. Its been a while since I did them. One thing I do remember is they seemed much hotter after canning than before. I loved them but most others would not touch them. I guess that's why I quit making them. I did do a few pints of habs this way. You want to talk about some heat. WOW. A good friend of mine is a big pepperhead and I gave him a jar of the habs, he said he put a few on a sandwich and about fell over.  ;D So he took the peppers back off but the juice still made the sandwich too hot. This really surprised me cause I know he eats hotter stuff than I do. I do not know if the brining causes this or not but it will get your attention. I'll be interested in which you decide is the best. Maybe next year, I'll try a few jars.


Nice canning job & experiment - looking forward to hear the results of the Trappey's replacement cause I use them a lot also.
Rodney Dangerfield got his material from watching me.
Learn to hunt deer www.lulu.com/mediabyKevinG



Sorry about the move.  I felt this was a more appropriate category so I moved the post.

I appreciate your reply.  I am wanting to add to my knowledge base on this subject.  You already have helped me with your thoughts.  Were your brined peppers salty to taste?  Did you add salt to the pickling liquid?  

I know there are some real pros on this board that will eliminate some experiments I might try.

Good luck and holy habaneros,



Quote from: KevinG on December 30, 2009, 11:29:28 AM
Nice canning job & experiment - looking forward to hear the results of the trappys replacement cause I use them a lot also.

This could be a long experiment, but I will continue to update this post.  If many jalapenos are consumed in your home, I would try 4 pint jars immediately.  It will take less than an hour once the ingredients are together.

Good luck and Goodbye Trappys,


Ka Honu

They look great, Pachanga.  We love Jalapenos and I think I'd really like to do this but SWMBO won't let me bring even one more cooking contraption in the house (not even canning jars) unless I remove something of similar size. I guess it will have to go on the list (along with sausage-making stuff) until we find a house with a much larger kitchen and associated cooking area.



These look fantastic. You did a great job and these are on my to do list soon.



Pachanga, I'll try to find the recipe tomorrow and post it. No they tasted hot not salty.  ;D
I do think there was salt in both the brine and the hot liquid poured over the peppers after put into the jar. I also put a couple garlic cloves in each jar.


PACHANGA!  Holeeeeeeeeee Jalapenos!  Send me a baker's dozen!
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Quote from: Ka Honu on December 30, 2009, 11:42:35 AM
They look great, Pachanga.  We love Jalapenos and I think I'd really like to do this but SWMBO won't let me bring even one more cooking contraption in the house (not even canning jars) unless I remove something of similar size. I guess it will have to go on the list (along with sausage-making stuff) until we find a house with a much larger kitchen and associated cooking area.

Ka Honu,

As a Knighted Senior board member and the Bradley Knight who represents that Great Island State of Hawaii, sometimes you must take a stand even if it gets you into a pickle.

Top 10 reasons excuses to can in a limited space.

#1.  Each jar will replace a like jar of commercially packed jalapenos already in the house.
#2   There is no other equipment to purchase besides jars.
#3   This one really will save money, Honey.
#4   Honey will become addicted and insist you can more.
#5   Use one of those jars that has been sitting in the back of the cabinet for years.
#6   Store unused jars by burying them in the sand on the beach.  "Discover" them with the wife in tow and bring them home slowly until you have a collection that is begging to be used.
#7    Tell her the truth.  Bring home a sack of jalapenos and tell Honey that a friend gave them to you and you will just have to can them before they go bad  (I will send a gift card so it won't be a lie).
#8    Plant a few jalapenos in that wonderful climate and you will be forced to can them.
#9    Point out how much healthier this controlled ingredient product will be.
#10  Get a prescription from the psychiatrist for canning therapy, I did. (I also have a prescription for beer as needed to take the edge off)

If all else fails, do what I did.  My wench wife was in Vail, Colorado during Jalapeno Wars.  But then, I am not a Knight, only a lowly peasant toiling to improve my lot in life.

Good luck and better excuses,



Here's the way I used to do them:

Stage 1
About 100 Jalapeños
½ Cup Salt
½ Gallon water

1. Cut peppers into ½"-1" chunks
2. Mix salt and water in a plastic or glass container.
3. Put peppers into brine.
4. Put a dish or something on top of brine to keep peppers submerged.
5.Allow to soak in refrigerator 4-5 days.

Stage 2
1 Qt. White Vinegar
1 Qt. Water
8-10 Cloves Garlic
½ Cup Salt

1. Remove peppers from brine and rinse well.
2. Put one or two cloves of garlic into each jar.
3. Put vinegar, water and salt into a pot and boil.
4. Pack peppers in hot, sterilized jars.
5. Pour hot solution over peppers.
6. Put hot lids on and allow to cool slowly.

Makes approx. 4-5 pints, depending on size of peppers.


Not a chance!

Thanks for the post, I am going to look for the best buy on peppers and can up a few varieties this way. Jalepenos, maybe some serranos, whatever.

I actually grew a few cayennes a couple of times (HARD to do here in the gray damp Upper Left Coast), and they just got sliced into little circles and went into a jar of vinegar in the fridge with some pepper corns and sliced garlic.  A tablespoon or so of pepper vinegar would go into soups or whatever.  Talk aobut kicking it up a notch!

Smoked cheese and beef stick sausage with pickled jalepenos on the side sounds pretty fantastic!

Quote from: Pachanga on December 30, 2009, 11:10:58 AM

Someone help me.  I can't stop.


So many recipes, so little time!


Oh Boy!! Them look awesome! This is definetly on my to do list.

Thanks for posting your recipes Pachanga and Pens.

Most people hate the taste of beer - to begin with. It is, however, a prejudice that many people have been able to overcome.     -WINSTON CHURCHILL-


All I want to know and I am sure WTSMOKER is dying to know? When do you do the mustard smear on them ? Any tips will be helpful LMAO!!! Have a hot and sweaty day.

Terry W


I woke up one morning and evidently I tried a mustard slather but the jar was too slippery and it made a nasty mess in the fridge.  I also found a load of mustard slathered jars and jalapenos in the smoker the next day.  Alcohol may have been a contributing factor in that yellow experiment.    ;)