This recipe is incredibly flexible, and can be adjusted for any other type of hot pepper or sweet pepper. The key phrase is "quick pickle." Use this basic brine for blanched baby carrots, beans, asparagus, and so on. I'm a fan of pickled jalapeños, and the recipe is so simple to make that spending money on store-bought ones seems wasteful. Also, in northern gardens, jalapeños (and many other peppers) tend to come all at once, toward the end of the growing season, so it's a good way to process the harvest for later use.

Although all the equipment and food used here should be clean, this is not a canning recipe for long-term storage. This pickle must be refrigerated, and has a shelf life of perhaps four to six weeks. The acidity of the brine should prevent nasty bacteria from developing, but always give pickles a close look and smell prior to eating. If anything seems off, discard them.

This recipe produces one pint-sized jar of quick pickled jalapeños.

10-12 jalapeño peppers, depending on size
1 cup water
1 cup distilled white vinegar
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 Tbsp sugar
1 heaped Tbsp kosher salt

Wash the peppers carefully and pat them dry. Then slice them cross-wise into rings as uniform in thickness as possible. In a saucepan, combine the water, vinegar, garlic, sugar, and salt and set over medium high heat. Stir as the brine heats to dissolve the sugar and salt. Allow the brine to boil briefly, then add the sliced jalapeños. Remove from heat. Stir to submerge the pepper rings as much as possible. Set aside and allow to cool somewhat. The peppers should gradually change from dark green to more olive-green in colour.

Using a spoon or tongs, transfer the pepper rings into a clean (sterilized) glass jar. Pour the remaining brine over the peppers and push them down with a spoon so that all are submerged. The cooking process allows them to sink rather than float. If more liquid is needed to cover the pepper pieces, use a 50/50 solution of vinegar and water.

Allow the pickles to cool to room temperature and then refrigerate for at least 24 hours before using. The heat and flavour will mellow over time.