The Prettiest Peck of Peppers

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The Prettiest Peck of Peppers

By Paula Deen

To me, pickin’ a peck of pickled peppers isn’t just a tongue twister; it’s an annual event.  At the end of summer, I always have these beautiful red and green peppers weighing down the plants in my garden.  There are so many, I hardly know what to do with ‘em all, but I’m not one to let things go to waste—especially something I’ve spent so much time and energy growing!  Course, it’s always time and energy well spent.  Going into my garden is like stepping into a magical place.  It’s where I go to de-stress and think, mostly about nothing at all besides how rewarding it is to bring fresh produce to my kitchen from my own backyard.


And even though homegrown fruits and vegetables are seasonal, you can preserve just about anything past its prime, and the process is super simple.


For my peppers, I boil up some vinegar—think of it as the “collagen filler” of the vegetable world, keeping those beauties bright and plump—and pour it into a pretty bottle filled with a colorful variety of red and green peppers and a few cloves of garlic.  Not only does the vinegar preserve the shape and rich color of the peppers, making for a beautiful dressing on any countertop, but, depending on what kind of peppers you use, it also transforms those little devils into a hot pepper sauce that is to die for. 


Y’all, I use my pepper sauce like most kids use ketchup; I put it on everything.  That heat combined with the sour bite of the vinegar transforms everything from salads to fried chicken into something special.  Not too long ago I fed the set crew of Paula’s Best Dishes my fried chicken doused in pepper sauce and they scarfed it down as fast as lightning.  Guess I know what to get ‘em for the holidays!


That’s the other thing about preserving peppers—the sauce makes for a wonderful gift, as does anything that comes from the garden and the heart.  Gifting food is something I’ve always done and folks appreciate it so much.  When my garden overflows, I’ll carry armloads of lettuce and tomatoes into the office and watch everyone’s face light up.  It just tastes so much better than what you get at most groceries.  And it’s so easy to make a simple gift even more special by dressing it up.  I find tall, beautiful bottles or vintage jars for my pepper sauce and tie them with colorful ribbons, raffia or simple twine, giving the hot and tangy taste of summer year round.

In the meantime, you can find me deep in thought and knee-deep in my garden, replanting for the next harvest.

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Reader Comments:


Hello Paula Would it be possible to order a jar of your prettiest peck of peppers? If so, let me know. Thanks.

By Diamond on April 16, 2014


Paula: Good to see you back sending out beautiful recipes, I am going to make those beautiful jars filled with all the colorful peppers, it will be a nice gift, and something I will use myself. Thanks you are looking good gal.

By Dottie Williams on February 16, 2014


Dear Mrs Dean : I was wondering what kind of peppers you grow in your garden? I put out 3 kind of peppers in Kentucky the seed came from New Mwxico they were Barker-Hot,Sandia, & Big Jim Mild they told me not to expect them to grow very well in Ky the weather must been right ; because off 180 plants of Sandia I picked 132 Pounds the 1st picking been trying to sell them in stores but people don't know what they are Your Truly William (Bill) Close

By William D Close on September 21, 2013


Prettiest peck of peppers. I wish I could read your respones on this page. What's the recipe for this Paula? I am a young apprentice when it comes to cooking, so you have to break it down for me. How long do you boil the vinegar and what type of vinegar do you recommend? Cant wait to try it. HAG1 JG

By jpgreenwood on January 20, 2013


do they need to be sealed and how long do the last? refrigerate after opening??

By stephanie cobb on January 05, 2013


Ms. Paula. love all your recipes. now for the peppers, does the jar have to be sealed after the jars are packed as in regular canning, and what is the shelf like...i have a lot of Habbanaro peppers ready to pick, would make a great vinegar.

By sandy greiner on October 04, 2012


What do you use as a stopper in the peppers/ Will you tell me how you lost so much weight I to am diabetic and beleive me it is so very hard and I need to loose weight about 80 lbs. Thank You Carolyn Howry

By Carolyn Howry on September 24, 2012


First of all you look great,Looking foward to trying this peppers:)

By Kathy Bland on September 19, 2012


Love your show ,watch it everyday.Would like to say thank you for inspiring me to cook and not be afraid to try new things .Love the salmon Croquettes and cheese grits.We have them at least twice a month. Betty

By Betty Waite on September 07, 2012


do you have lemonade it take 13 lemon

By robin martin on September 05, 2012


I made your hot pepper sauce today and it was super easy to make. I love how beautiful the colors of the peppers are. Thanks you so much for giving me a recipe to help me with my pepper overload. I have included a photo on my facebook fan page.

By Tina Butler on September 05, 2012


Hi Paula! Your article on "Pickled Peppers" has made my day! I am disabled and I have had to give up big gardening. But I have my favorite vegetables growing on my deck. I have been blessed with peppers this year! I didn't know what to do with so many. You have given me such a good idea. Your peppers in the the bottle are beautiful! I not only will love the sauce for myself, but so will my friends. I plan on making these as gifts. Thank you for such good recipes, and ideas. I am one of your biggest fans:) Here's wishing you best dishes and best wishes! June C.Moore

By June Moore on September 05, 2012


I would like to know how long those peppers are good for. It would be thoughtful if Paula gave us the whole recipe for the hot peppers in a bottle. I would love to make it Thanks Sue

By Anonymous on September 04, 2012


Thank you so much for this article/recipe! Since relocating to Fiji, I've had a little trouble exchanging American groceries and recipes for Fijian ones. But I have a beautiful bounty of peppers and chilies in my garden here and thanks to you, can make my Honey some hot sauce that reminds us of home! Love and Thanks! Diana

By Diana Calvo on September 04, 2012


Ms. Paula...I had to look for the ring on your thumb to see if these photos were of you. You look wonderful but please do not melt away from us. I enjoy everyone of your magazines and cookbooks and your sons, hope to have all of them one day. Best wishes to all of you.

By Charlotte F. Layton on September 04, 2012


Iv always watched your cooking show i love how you talk, your accient that is. I had lots od peppers an tomatoes go to waste in my garden but after reading this how you boilded the vinegar an put the pepper in the jars as gift I will do that with the leftovers.

By terry cagle on September 04, 2012


So pretty! Do you do a water bath after filling? And how long are they good before opening?? Love this gift giving idea-so personal!!

By Annette on September 04, 2012


I love this idea! It's so multipurpose! What I would like to know, if there's anyone willing to email me the answer, is this. Once you actually open the bottle to use the sauce, do you then need to refrigerate it? And I guess that begs another question. Are you actually SEALING this bottle in an airtight manner? Like in hot processing? I've never done anything like this, but would like to try. I just don't want to poison anyone, including me! Thanks, Paula. You're such a delight! smile

By Denise Haskins on September 04, 2012


Why do you boil the vinegar?

By LEE RAMSAY on September 04, 2012


Hi I tried to make your banana,chocolate sticky buns this weekend.My dough didn't rise.I used bread flour and yeast was NOT out of date.Does hi humidity have any effect on dough rising?Do you have any suggestions??

By Sonya on September 04, 2012

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