When you grow up in Texas, you eat a LOT of spicy Tex-Mex food.
And I don’t just mean eating out in a restaurant (although that certainly happens!).
In our house, I could open the fridge at any given moment and always find a few things — homemade salsa, a bottle of Tabasco, and a gallon-size jar of pickled jalapeño peppers.
My mom bought jars of pickled peppers in bulk, and we went through them like crazy. They graced the table at just about every meal — even the non-spicy meals. We Texans are lovers of all the spicy things, and we’ll add heat to our non-spicy food every chance we get!
My dad piled them on everything… hot dogs and burgers, breakfast burritos, chili, homemade enchiladas, and of course, our Saturday night nachos.
3 Awesome Benefits Of Jalapeño Peppers
Jalapeños are little green powerhouses, in my opinion.
#1 — They’re high in Vitamin C. This antioxidant is an immune-booster and helps fight oxidative stress and free radicals, which damage cells and may lead to the development of cancer.
#2 — They’re a good source of capsaicin. Capsaicin provides the heat in peppers, yet it also has other major benefits. It has analgesic properties to reduce pain and inflammation (like natural Tylenol!). Capsaicin has been used for centuries to reduce joint and muscle pain, back pain, and arthritis pain. (Source).
Capsaicin has also shown the ability to kill cancer cells by triggering the mitochondria in cancer cells to virtually commit “cell suicide” (source)!
#3 — They make you sweat. The heat in jalapeños and other hot peppers causes an almost immediate, but temporary, rise in body temperature. Have you noticed beads of sweat forming on your upper lip or forehead when you eat spicy food? Then you’ve experienced this! A higher body temperature is linked to a powerful, fat-burning metabolism, which helps maintain a healthy weight. (Source and source).
Of course, the peppers must remain raw — not cooked or canned — to provide all of these benefits.
Naturally Fermented Jalapeño Peppers
Pickled jalapeños are still a staple in my home, yet now they aren’t canned in vinegar. Mine are naturally fermented jalapeño peppers — still raw and full of enzymes and beneficial, gut-loving bacteria!
The flavor of these pickled peppers beats the vinegar-y peppers of my childhood. There is no sour vinegar flavor at all!
In fact, naturally fermented jalapeño peppers are the perfect ferment to start with, if you love spicy foods but not the sourness of ferments!
Use any starter culture you have on hand. Whey, liquid from Bubbie’s pickles, or liquid from a previous homemade ferment, such as sauerkraut, all work. (I personally prefer to use Bubbie’s liquid or liquid from my homemade ferments.)
Naturally Fermented Jalapeño Peppers
- peppers sliced, enough to fill a quart-size Mason jar to the neck
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 4 to 6 cloves garlic sliced
- 2 tablespoons starter culture whey or liquid from another ferment, such as Bubbie's pickles or homemade sauerkraut
- pure water to fill the jar to the neck
Slice the peppers about 1/8" to 1/4" thick.
Thinly slice the garlic.
Add the peppers and garlic to a quart-size Mason jar and pack them in. Fill to the neck of the jar.
Add salt and starter culture to the jar.
Fill with filtered water.
Cap jar and leave out to ferment for at least 3 days.
You can ferment up to 6 months for a very strong batch.
Check the jar twice a day and "burp" to let out built up gases.
When you're ready, transfer the peppers to cold storage where they will keep for several months.
- Use any starter culture you have on hand. Whey, liquid from Bubbie's pickles, or liquid from a previous homemade ferment, such as sauerkraut, all work. (I personally prefer to use Bubbie's liquid or liquid from my homemade ferments.)
If you save your fermenting liquid, like I do, and want to use it for this recipe, omit the salt and water and simply pour the fermenting liquid over the peppers and garlic to the neck of the jar.
Just make sure whatever herbs and spices were in your previous ferment go well with hot peppers and garlic. For instance, if you add caraway seeds to your sauerkraut, you may prefer to use salt + water or another fermenting liquid instead, if you don’t like the flavor of caraway in your peppers.
Blend the peppers with a bit of the fermenting liquid until smooth for a hot pepper sauce, similar to Tabasco.
Add 10 to 20 slices of naturally fermented jalapeños in place of raw peppers to homemade salsa as the starter. Then you don’t need a starter culture!
Do you love jalapeños? Have you ever fermented peppers?
This post featured in 92 Nourishing Grill & Barbecue Dishes, Drinks, & Desserts.
save time, spend less, and get healthy... simple & delicious traditionally-cooked meals using ingredients you already have... even leftovers... 30 min or less!
free worksheet + videos:
Healthy Dinner in 30 Minutes... While Spending $0 Extra!
We only recommend products and services we wholeheartedly endorse. This post may contain special links through which we earn a small commission if you make a purchase (though your price is the same).
Does the fermenting process reduce the heat of the jalapenos?
Lindsey Dietz says
No, we haven’t noticed a decrease or increase in heat level. Jalapeno heat varies from pepper to pepper anyway, so it’s hard to say, ya know?
[email protected] says
I’m going to make these and then add them to EVERYTHING!
Thank you for sharing this great fermented recipe 🙂
Lindsey Dietz says
frances Van den Bergh says
Hi there. I love working with all kinds of peppers. I use to make a sauce with white vinegar, salt, sugar, pickling spices and then pour it over the peppers with garlic in the bottle. I would later take this same mixture, put it through my food processor and then strain it to make Tabasco Sauce keeping the seeds and skins to dry out and they back into my food processor to make into spice. Lately I am more into fermenting with Brine as it is healthier, I think. I have made Bread & Butter Gherkins and used Apple Cider Vinegar which was called for. Fermented carrot sticks, beans, sweet peppers and of course, Sauerkraut. This list must include my Kefir Milk.
Regards Frances from Sunny South Africa
Thank you for sharing this recipe. I’m excited to try it out. Can you use leftover juice from store bought sauerkraut, pickles or pickled jalapenos, or is it not cultured?
We got a bottle of pickled Jalapeño peppers. They were actually mild and my kids with gut issues could actually eat them without pain. How can I reduce the heat….
I keep hearing that vinegar pickles are bad. I don’t understand the thinking. I know that vinegar itself is a great food. And is used for many healing things….so why when you add food and spices it becomes bad. Have friends that get all kinds of problems from salt in brined….so am trying to balance the info….can you help??
I actually love vinegar n vinegar pickled things. I dont think i wud like fermented things without vinegar. Is this sour, tangy but not in a yogurt sort of way?
Carolyn Manns says
When you say ‘whey’ as a fermenting agent…do you mean whey as in cheese by-product?
frances Van den Bergh says
Hi Carolyn, when I refer to Whey it is from my Kefir Milk that I make. The grains separate from the milk and there is this yellow liquid, normally, at the bottom of the bottle with the white grains that look like cream cheese at the top. I just stir the whey and grains up and leave it till it is tart and sour enough for me. This is normally 2 to 3 days then I drink my Kefir Milk or make smoothies with bananas and blue berries. A while back I strained my Kefir milk and the Whey came out pure “gold” and the milk remained on the cloth that I used to strain it through. Scraping the milk off the cloth gave me soft cream cheese. Delicious! Some recipes I have, call for Whey as a starter and then I have Whey available.
Frances from Sunny South Africa
I appreciate you explaining the benefits of jalapenos and your experience as a child! I also remember (vaguely) pickled jalapenos always being a staple of our refrigerator – used liberally at breakfast, lunch and dinner. I love that you linked to Bubbie’s liquid! I love Bubbie’s pickles and they are pretty much the only pickles I buy if I do buy them without making them myself. Time to pickle some jalapenos myself instead of buying them now too! Thanks again for your article, your pictures are also stunning!
Lindsey, when you say cap the jar do you mean with a canning jar lid and ring or a coffee filter and rubber band?
Can I leave the starter culture out of this recipe?
Charles Blazina says
My jalapeno slices came out soft and mushy. Any comments would help. Thanks, Chuck
Richard Schuster says
I’ve made these and they are not crisp, unlike my fermented cucumber pickles. When I put chili pepper slices in a salt and vinegar solution, they tend to come out firmer, but it’s a different style of pickle.
Jay Kaiser says
This amount of salt works out to a very weak brine and I’m hesitant to make them following the recipe.
It’s a very weak brine.
2 tsp salt per 1 quart water works out to less than 0.75%.
Are you sure of this amount of salt per quart?