My mom has a ton of jalapenos growing in her garden this year and she doesn't exactly love REALLY spicy stuff but she DOES love those pickled jalapenos you can get in the grocery store that are SWEET. I can't find a recipe for them that looks all that good. Anyone know of any? I also suggested she do jalapeno jam and mix it with cream cheese for a cracker dip!
Those "sweet" jalapenos are the product of Texas A&M, where they set about cross-breeding for a milder chili pepper for American palates. It's not just your imagination that jalapenos have lost their zing, it's been bred out of them.
If you mom still has one of the older, hot varieties growing, that heat is part of their makeup, and you can't really turn them sweet. However, the seeds and membranes contain most of the capsicum in hot peppers, so if you are careful to cut that away when you are preparing them, you will have a less heat in the end product.
Your suggestion to use it with a cream cheese spread will also cut the heat, since the milk proteins in the cheese will bind to the capsicum. If you pickle them, you are stuck with the amount of capsicum that is inherent to the pepper. If that's too hot, then you are going to have to get creative with some recipes using milk and/or cheese.
Cassie Langstraat wrote:No I wasn't talking about making the actual jalapenos less hot. I was talking about something like this.
Cassie, If you take that same recipe, but replace some of the vinegar with olive oil you will get a spicy sweet pepper without so much bite. (The oil coats your tongue and keeps it from hurting somehow.) The amounts are approximate, of course--these thing require experimentation to get a blend that suits. (You could even keep the same amount of vinegar but add a cup or so of olive oil to that and increase the peppers so it isn't all liquid.) Add other spices that you like too. I have found that cloves, cinnamon and even curry powder can add some interesting subtle tastes to peppers. Use applecider vinegar for better flavor though. The only reason most recipes call for white vinegar is that it leaves the finished product looking pretty. When you use olive oil, the liquid gets greenish anyway, so no point in not having better flavor if you've already lost some of the visual appeal. (Although personally, I think it looks fine, that way.) I do this for serranos, which are hotter than jalapenos, and I can sit down and eat a whole pint of them straight out of the jar, they're so good. If I ate that many fresh serranos, I would be sick (and probably in the bathroom for a week!)
If you have never canned before, try several recipes "by the book" before experimenting (wouldn't want to be responsible for sending you on a mission to get food poisoning!!!) but once you've done a variety of pickles, you will learn that so long as salt, sugar and/or acid levels are high enough, and you process the jars properly for the right length of time, there is a lot of room for experimentation without too much fear of creating a jar of botulism. Have fun!