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Harry’s Fish Hot Peppers

October 11, 2014


Four summers ago when my dog, Harry, was still with us I took him to a local vet to deal with some now forgotten malady. In passing the time of day while Harry was checked over we learned we were both gardeners. And like most gardeners, we were eager to compare notes, discuss successes and failures, and share discoveries. On the sharing end of things Harry’s vet provided me with a handful of what he described as Chesapeake Bay Fish Hot Peppers. Purchased the previous season from an on-line heritage seed company, Dr. S extolled their virtues, “lots of flavour, not too much heat, hugely prolific!”

Dr. S proved right on all counts. I’ve been growing these peppers from saved seed each year since and while they don’t for some reason like the soil at the farm, they do great in containers and fantastically in a friend’s garden in Hamilton.

While good used fresh or dried, Harry’s Fish Hot Peppers (gardeners have wide-ranging latitude to substitute names) are at their absolute best when pickled. Here’s a simple recipe that can be adapted to any small hot pepper.


Wash and dry 2 lbs of small hot peppers; slit each pepper length-wise with a sharp knife. Pack the peppers into clean mason jars.

Make a brine by combining 5 cups of white vinegar, 1 cup water, 4 teaspoons pickling salt and 2 teaspoons sugar. Bring the brine to just the boil in a large pot, stirring to ensure the sugar and salt are dissolved. Pour the brine into each jar of pickles leaving a 1/4 inch of head space. Affix the lids to the jars snugly but not over-tight.


Process in a water bath for ten minutes. Remove from bath and tighten lids fully when jars are cool. Wait at least a month before using so flavours can fully develop. Enjoy!

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