Pickled Bell Peppers ♥ Pied Piper Refrigerator Pickles

Pickled Bell Peppers (Pied Pipers) ♥ AVeggieVenture.com. Quick pickles for the fridge or canned for later.
Hey, pickle lovers! Here's how to pickle bell peppers, the sweet red, orange and yellow pickles are especially pretty, right?! You can make "quick" pickles (which keep in the fridge for a few weeks) or canned pickles, your choice.

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About That Name "Pied Pipers"

During a "canning crusade' three summers ago, I canned something like 200 jars of 30 different things during the course of the summer. No wonder I could write up the very useful Practical Home Canning Tips, a guide to what to do before (and after) you start canning.

But you can't pickle peppers without getting all caught up in your own amusement, am I right?

Remember Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers? Remember the folkstory about Pied Piper dressed in colorful clothing who lured rats out of the town to drown? That's how I came to call these colorful pickles "Pied Pipers" for short!

Ingredients for Pickled Bell Peppers

Like all my recipes, every ingredient serves a purpose. Each one matters. Each one contributes to the overall dish. It's not that an ingredient can't be substituted by something else but when choosing the substitute, it's important to understand why the original ingredient was present in the first place.

BELL PEPPERS Usually I use fresh bell peppers, the sweet red, orange and yellow ones are especially pretty. I've never tried pickling green peppers but think they might turn out an unappealing green-gray color. But on occasion, I use the frozen grilled bell peppers from Trader Joe's, they're very good and extra convenient.

During the fall, I love to use the peppers which appear in farmers markets: they have thin skins and beautiful colors. But other times, I use the thicker skinned peppers from the grocery store.

VINEGAR The inspiring recipe (sorry, the source is long lost) called for tarragon vinegar. It's worth checking for on grocery store shelves but if no luck, then use another mild and clear (or lightly colored) vinegar, a sherry vinegar, unseasoned rice vinegar or white wine vinegar, for example.

SUGAR Many pickles do include sugar, it serves as a preservative as well as a sweetener. That said, Pickled Bell Peppers are not especially sweet and most of the sugar is in the pickle juice, which you may not use at all.

SEASONINGS The pickles are seasoned with whole celery seed, whole mustard seed, garlic and salt.

How to Make Pickled Bell Peppers

The detailed recipe is written in traditional recipe form below but here are the highlights in three easy steps. You can definitely do this!

Wash and trim the peppers, removing the center core and seeds. Cut them into strips or sections or some of each. Pack the strips/sections into glass jars, it helps to turn the jars on their sides to really pack and fill them.

Bring the pickling ingredients to a boil.

For quick pickles that will be stored in the fridge, pour the hot liquid into the jar, filling the jar and submerging the peppers. Cover the jar, let cool a bit and then refrigerate for at least 24 hours before serving.

For canning pickles, the process is much the same but special canning jars and lids must be used and the jars processed in what's called a "hot water bath" for 10 minutes. For experienced canners, the instructions below will be plenty.

For those who are new to canning, I recommend using a resource to learn the basics of safely canning foods. I've been using this 1999 edition of the wonderful Ball Blue Book (1999) Guide to Home Canning, Freezing & Dehydration (affiliate link) but LOL, it's a wonderful resource but is out of print so even used copies are priced in the hundreds of dollars. The 2020 edition is much more reasonable Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving (2020) (affiliate link).

How to Eat Pickled Bell Peppers

Pied Pipers are easy to use. My favorite is as a tomato stand-in on sandwiches, especially since real tomatoes are still several weeks away. But try these, too.

Atop grilled or roasted chicken or in turkey sandwiches.
Chopped up for an omelet.
Chopped up for tuna salad.
Chopped up for potato salad.

You Might Wonder Be Wondering ...

Have another question? Ask away, I'll do my best to answer!

What about using those pretty little mini peppers? I think so! I haven't tried this but think they'd work just beautifully. Don't you just love these?!
What about pickling chiles instead of sweet bell peppers? I think so! We love Quick Jalapeño Pickles but I think I'd choose this recipe, for a mix of sweet and heat, for pickling poblanos or hot chiles.

How do you save and share favorite recipes? recipes that fit your personal cooking style? a particular recipe your mom or daughter or best friend would just love? If this recipe hits the mark, go ahead, save and share! I'd be honored ...

Pickled Bell Peppers (Pied Pipers) ♥ AVeggieVenture.com. Quick pickles for the fridge or canned for later.


Hands-on time: 25 minutes
Time to table: 24 hours
Makes 4 pint jars, easily halved

4 - 6 bell peppers, preferably a mix of red, yellow and orange

2 cups water
2 cups tarragon vinegar or another mild, clear vinegar
1 cup (200g) sugar
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon mustard seed
4 cloves garlic (allow 1 per jar), crushed
1 teaspoon kosher salt

PEPPERS Wash the peppers well, then trim off the stem end and remove the center membranes and seeds. Your choice, cut the peppers into strips and/or sections, I like to do one jar of each, cutting one or the other until a jar is filled. Turn a glass jar on its side and carefully insert the strips or sections, packing the jar with as many as will fit, making sure each piece is a bit below the top of the jar. Strips are best packed standing upright, sections can be packed either upright or or flat, layered in X fashion for maximum fill. Set the jar upright. Repeat as necessary.

PICKLING LIQUID Bring the ingredients to a boil and let simmer for 5 minutes.

FOR REFRIGERATOR PICKLES Carefully pour the hot liquid into each jar, a narrow funnel helps. Make sure the peppers are completely submerged. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours before eating.

FOR CANNING Use hot sterilized jars. Fill jars with hot liquid leaving half-inch headspace. Process for 10 minutes to seal. Makes four pints.

FOR MORE INFO If you "skipped straight to the recipe," please scroll back to the top of this page for ingredient information, ingredient substitutions, tips and more. If you print this recipe, you'll want to check the recipe online for even more tips and extra information about ingredient substitutions, best results and more. See https://www.aveggieventure.com/2005/05/day-57-pied-piper-refrigerator-pickles.html.

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Looking for healthy new ways to cook vegetables? A Veggie Venture is home to hundreds of super-organized quick, easy and healthful vegetable recipes and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables. Join "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg to explore the exciting world of common and not-so-common vegetables, seasonal to staples, savory to sweet, salads to sides, soups to supper, simple to special.

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Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.