Peppers around town for pickling
A few notes about peppers I have seen around town. So far at Farmer's markets I have only seen variations on habanero, jalepeno, and Poblano (and not for pickling, but Whole Foods had Hatch Peppers as of last Tuesday). I still need to check out both Russo's and Roberto's, both which usually have nice varieties and should have them now.
Arax: Had some nice small chili peppers, tabasco type lots of nice red and orange. They said the long red peppers (usually italian med-hot) were running very hot, maybe they got some cayennes. (Some of these could have come from Russo's, although I think they pick up a lot of their own produce in Chelsea.)
DeMoulas: Nice cheese (hungarian, apple...) peppers, plenty of red ones (these aren't so hot, but mix well with other peppers, good substitute for pimientos). Hot Cherry peppers were all green, but plentiful. Also had a lot of of non pickling peppers (really nice poblanos), dried, and sweet peppers.
Russo's had piles of them last weekend - the beautiful hot cherry peppers are what stand out in my memory. Pretty good price too, as usual.
Also, Russo's has been carrying dragonfruit on and off this summer. $2.99/lb. for ones that were much nicer in size and color than the ones I found at Super88 for the same price each. First time I bought them they had clear white flesh. The next time, the flesh was a dark magenta, like a beet. Same subtle sweet taste each time.
My brother took me to the farmers market in Waltham today and they had lots of hot peppers. It was a pretty small farmers market compared to Brookline but it was good. They sell fresh eggs which is nice to see. There was an Asian produce table that had lots of fresh hot peppers.
Roberto's has peppers that look similar to cheese, although perhaps a bit smaller, less round/more wrinkled, and much darker shade of red labeled as "St Nick's Hot Peppers." Cheese peppers aren't really hot and I mentioned the different naming last year thinking they were the same. However, I had a lot of variation in my mixed peppers for heat and remember the less round ones. So I am pretty certain they are different, but since they were an even different name last year and the counter staff doesn't know what they are I cannot say exactly. Definitely going to give them a try side by side.
Also a bunch of chestnuts and fresh olives (probably means that Arax also has them, although they didn't on my last visit).
Do you do anything special with your pickling brine for these peppers ? Basic 5% distilled vinegar , rice vinegar, or 5% white wine vinegar ? Any special spices other than garlic or dill (seeds) ? Ready to pickle a batch so want to be sure I'm well stocked with the necessities. Oh and I guess I should ask where in Boston area you buy this other stuff so I can avoid the CH Home Cooking police !
Hi pondrat, here is a thread to post some thoughts about the brine:
For places to buy. I tend to buy the gallon jugs of cider vinegar from Market Basket or Stop and Shop. I usually keep a gallon bottle of La Regina Red Wine Vinegar (the house brand of Accardi) which you can get in Italian stores + Russo's and Famosa is another local brand which is ok, but only in liter size (McKinnon's usually has this). White wine vinegar is a bit harder to get in larger sizes, I tend to buy it from Restaurant Depot either by the liter or gallon. Interestingly it looked like Roberto's had La Regina distilled vinegar recently, although I basically use the store brand. Dried peppers from Demoulas or La Internacional, I have some imported Brazilian pimenta de bode (smuggled), but also buy them from local markets (Mundial has some large bottles of mixed peppers).
With other types of pickles I use pickling spices, or sometimes the component spices measured individually (eg bay leaf, celery seed, etc). Arax is a good place for all spices for pickling, although I am one of those persons who has had issues with freshness (both not so fresh green spices, but also bleeding of smells/flavors)... but in general the pickling oriented ones do well. Fresh herbs that I have bought this year came from Union Square farmers market and I pull grape leaves off an inmature vine we have for some extra tannins (although this year I think contributed to a brine which went funky) and in Somerville or East Cambridge, there are plenty of places you can collect a couple.
Star in Packard's Corner has an unusual (for them) abundance and variety of nice-looking hot peppers this week.